In The End, It Really Was All About That Planned Parenthood Rider

As yesterday's budget negotiations began, the GOP had a choice - appease the base, or make a deal. They made the right choice.

I’ll be doing a more in-depth post on the budget deal later today, but Politico’s story on the deal this morning deserves some attention primarily because it seems to confirm that the final element holding up a deal, outside of the relatively pedestrian task of agreeing on a number for cuts when the parties were only a few billion dollars a part, was in fact the House GOP’s rider to defund Planned Parenthood:

The low point may have come Thursday night.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had spent more than an hour meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, inching towards a deal to avert a shutdown, but he kept insisting that it include a prohibition against federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

That was a non-starter for Obama. As the meeting was breaking up, Vice President Joe Biden told the speaker, in no uncertain terms, that his demand was unacceptable. If that became the deal-breaker, Biden said, he would “take it to the American people,” who would presumably punish the GOP for shutting down the government over an ideological issue.

“They were faced with a choice – they would either have to give in or shut down the government,” said a senior administration official, describing how the negotiations went from there.

In the end, Boehner agreed to a package of $38.5 billion in cuts, a significant victory for a man who said his goal was to extract as much as possible from the federal budget. He also won limited victories on a handful of policy riders attached to the bill. But Boehner was forced to abandon some major demands, including Planned Parenthood, restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency and efforts to restrict Obama’s health reform bill.

Administration officials cast the deal as proof Obama and Boehner can forge a longer-lasting relationship to negotiate the perils of divided government, but it was a rough week punctuated by several near deals, a few blow-ups and a resolution that came 90 minutes before the government shuttered.

“It’s been a long dance,” said an Obama aide involved in the talks.

Boehner did get some concessions. There are an additional billion dollars in spending cuts in this package, and the Senate has agreed to hold stand-alone votes on both the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the defunding of the Affordable Care Act. Of course, neither one of these provisions will pass the Senate, and the Planned Parenthood matter is unlikely to even survive a cloture vote since there are already 41 Senators on record as saying they’d vote no on Cloture Motion on any such provision.  Additionally, there were other issues to resolve, like the EPA rider and the final number, but the only thing that the White House said was a deal-breaker was the Planned Parenthood rider. So, Boehner had a choice, either he sticks with his base and lets the shutdown happen, or he takes the best deal he could get and fight another day.

Boehner did the right thing here. No matter how hard the GOP tried to spin it yesterday, it was pretty clear that if a shutdown had occurred the public would have been left with an impression that the GOP had allowed the government to shut down over a controversial social issue, and I think Biden’s assessment about what would’ve happened are probably correct. Even some of the most socially conservative Members Of Congress recognized that the rider was not the hill to die on. Boehner did the right thing here, and if the Tea Party and/or the social conservatives are angry about it, then that’s just a reflection of their own political naivete.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    As a member of the Tea Party, I can say that I am satisfied with this deal. Not happy , but satisfied. The military gets paid through the rest of the year, no more CR’s, and substantial real cuts in spending. All this only completes the work that the Democrats should have done last year, i.e. pass a budget for this year.

    But regarding Planned Parenthood, the EPA, and other wasteful spending, the war is not over. Indeed it has just begun! The new budget battle will begin soon and all of this will come up again. We are heading in the right direction, one spending cut at a time.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Nice to see the tea baggers, who like to claim to be only about fiscal issues and not culture wars, get it handed to them. These extremists who are afraid of pap smears and deny 100% of the peer reviewed science on climate change are not capable of governing a diverse population.

  3. DC Loser says:

    This puts to bed the lie that the Tea Party is only concerned with fiscal issues. It’s just another figleaf for the Pat Robertson wing of the Republican Party.

  4. wr says:

    “The EPA and other wasteful spending.” Oh, that’s a good one. Let’s go back to the days when rivers in Ohio burst into flames because they were so polluted. Let’s have 100 days a year when it’s unsafe to breathe outside. As long as Tea Partiers can rest happy knowing that their super-rich benefactors won’t have to pay taxes over 36%, they don’t care about anything else.

  5. john personna says:

    Maybe I should give you a chance to explain the EPA bit, Patrick, before I just call that stupid.

    After all, there have been real environmental threats. Coal waste dams have burst. Whole cities have had to be cleared and razed for dioxins.

  6. DC,

    To be honest, most of the Tea Party people I know – especially people I know at Freedomworks — said repeatedly that they’d rather have more spending cuts than worry about the PP rider.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    If the baggers were serious they would go after farm subsidies, oil tax breaks, and military spending. They are fiscal frauds. And the Tea Party Manifesto ryan put out this week makes it clear.

  8. george says:

    Oh, that’s a good one. Let’s go back to the days when rivers in Ohio burst into flames because they were so polluted.

    Well, sure. Think of the energy savings if you can just burn your rivers. And the potential profits in selling clean air canisters to city people – people will pay a lot to be able to breath. Its all good.

  9. Steve Anthony says:

    The shutdown threat all along was attached to the GOP and more specifically the Tea Party.
    People saying that it was hanging over Obama’s head are delusional. Boehner knew this as well, so the Tea Party should be grateful for the Speaker’s wisdom in agreeing to the budget deal.

    A shutdown would have been a PR disaster for the GOP.

  10. Hey Norm says:

    @Doug
    The people you know at freedom works? Is that Dick Armey or the Koch brothers? Grass roots. What a joke.

  11. reid says:

    I’m sure the millions of women who use PP as a critical health care resource would also take issue with Patrick’s inclusion of PP in “wasteful spending”. But I guess Patrick, who probably isn’t a woman, doesn’t give a crap.

  12. Norm,,

    No more of a joke than groups like Media Matters or Think Progress.

  13. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Why should we be funding PP when we have Obamacare to take care of all the medical needs of everyone?

  14. DC Loser says:

    Doug – I’d believe the TP people when they start insisting on huge cuts in Defense and Homeland Security. I’ve been in DoD for almost 30 years and know we can cut out about 30% of the budget with no impact to mission. Contractors would scream to their people in the Hill via their lobbyist shills, but that’s how it should be done. But I don’t expect that to happen.

  15. reid says:

    PTM: So to not seem like a selfish, callous ass, you’re now a proponent of ACA? No, I suspect that if you had your way, we’d have a country where the poor would just get sick and quietly die from a lack of available, affordable care. Woo hoo, there’s TP prosperity*!

    * Prosperity only valid for those with good jobs or substantial wealth. Other exclusions may apply. Offer may be rescinded at any time.

  16. Joe R. says:

    Given that this budget should have been passed last year, when Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, it’s amazing that they can be in the position to blame Republicans. Punting the political football until after the elections became a brilliant strategy. What a wonderful bunch of weasels.

  17. Hey Norm says:

    @Doug
    Media Matters or Think Progress are not professing to be grass roots organizations.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    Ah, Freedomworks. It explains so much. Butt Boys for Billionaires.

  19. Ah the usual insightful comment without ad hominem attacks from you I see

  20. Norm,

    Media Matters pretends its an independent “media watchdog.” They are as big a joke as Brent Bozell’s “Media Research Center”

  21. DC Loser says:

    JoeR – Your selective memory left out the bit about Mitch McConnell and his filibuster threat on the budget. It wasn’t going anywhere as long as the GOP senators were blocking it.

  22. Hey Norm says:

    Doug,
    What part of independent do you find fault with? Certainly accepting donations does not nullify that standing.
    Freedom Works on the other hand is nearly the opposite of Grassroots. I don’t have a problem with Freedom Works if they owned up to what they are. Well other than a basic difference with people who are fiscal frauds and culture warriors and see the world through the lens of old white rich folks.

  23. Fine Norm, you don’t like FvreedomWorks. I don’t like unions taking dues from people and using them for political purposes without asking first.

  24. john personna says:

    Media Matters pretends its an independent “media watchdog.” They are as big a joke as Brent Bozell’s “Media Research Center”

    You do know that this is also an ad hominem, right?

    (As is any form of “ignore the message, because the messenger is bad.”)

  25. anjin-san says:

    I don’t like unions taking dues from people and using them for political purposes without asking first.

    My advice is that you don’t join a union.

    As for PP, when I was single, had no health insurance and not a lot of money, I was able to go to PP and get testing for STD’s that I could afford. As much as it infuriates “conservatives” to see people getting laid, my experience with PP was that it was providing a valuable service and it helped to both prevent the spread of disease and preventable consequences from undiagnosed diseases. Both of those accomplishments are winners any way you look at it, especially fiscally.

  26. Hey Norm says:

    Doug…
    I also don’t like asparagus.
    You brought up freedom works.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    Freedomworks is devoted to the proposition that “I got mine, screw you.” It’s run by a notorious a-hole and financed by richer a-holes. The essential idea is, “Hey, let’s get some wanna-be wallet-sniffers to do our bidding.” Like I said: Butt Boys for Billionaires.

    And if the day ever comes, Doug, when you or your family find yourselves out of work, with a sick child, desperate, you think it will be the Koch brothers saving you? You’re serving people who think you’re an amoeba. People who would let your children starve before your eyes under the guise of a b.s. ideology of naked greed.

    But I’ll tell you what, we’ll keep the safety net in place despite your efforts and the efforts of the ravenous animals you evidently support. So if or when you or your family need it, we’ll still save your butt for you.

  28. mantis says:

    Media Matters pretends its an independent “media watchdog.”

    So what? Are they not? From their “About Us” page:

    Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

    Pretty clear where they’re coming from, eh? Partisan, sure, but why are they not independent? Are they part of the Democratic Party?

    They are as big a joke as Brent Bozell’s “Media Research Center”

    Well, yes, insofar as they are also partisan media watchers. From the MRC “About Us” page:

    The mission of the Media Research Center, “America’s Media Watchdog,” is to bring balance to the news media. Leaders of America’s conservative movement have long believed that within the national news media a strident liberal bias existed that influenced the public’s understanding of critical issues. On October 1, 1987, a group of young determined conservatives set out to not only prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values, but also to neutralize its impact on the American political scene. What they launched that fall is the now acclaimed — Media Research Center (MRC).

    Pretty much the same thing, yes. Partisan and independent.

  29. MM says:

    Doug Mataconis: “NO YOU!”

    I’m also amused that the OTB poster who just a couple of weeks ago was shocked SHOCKED I SAY that politicians act like politicians has the audacity to lecture people on political naivete.

    The genuine grassroots folk he knows like Matt Kibbe is just icing on a delicious cake.

  30. most of the Tea Party people I know – especially people I know at Freedomworks — said repeatedly that they’d rather have more spending cuts than worry about the PP rider

    Then most of the Tea Party people you know lied to you.

  31. anjin-san says:

    Just want to reiterate that PP offers a number of health services for men, including screening for colon and testicular cancer. I am sure that somehow this is a threat to our freedoms and a waste of money, but I will leave that to Patrick.

    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/men-4285.htm

  32. Stan says:

    “I don’t like unions taking dues from people and using them for political purposes without asking first.”

    Doug, I have investments in a lot of companies that lobby for things I don’t support and contribute to candidates I don’t like. Is this OK in your book?

  33. Dodd says:

    Doug, you make far too much of a pretty obvious bit of kabuki theater. It was always obvious the PP rider was a bargaining chip to use the right flank to pressure Reid for deeper cuts. As such, Boehner conceding it was about as surprising as the Sun rising in the East this morning.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Dodd:

    Do they let you sniff the wallets at Freedomworks, too? Or aren’t you in that club yet?

  35. Darren Pope says:

    Now that we’ve heard the fantasy let’s deal with the reality. The fact is the GOP tried to separate the issue of military pay from the budget/government shutdown debate. When they did so Obama vowed to veto any stand-alone bill that would guarantee military pay if a shut down occured. This threat was designed to force the GOP to abandon its call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and Obamacare. Obviously it worked because the GOP is full of namby-pamby, candy-asses who are afraid to stand up to the messiah for fear of being labeled a racist, or being accused of starving kids and old people. ButiIn the end what every American should learn from this fiasco is that the Democrats and Obama would rather deny a soldier on the front lines a paycheck than they would to deny a crack whore an abortion.

  36. DC Loser says:

    When I left work yesterday afternoon, I told my colleagues the pressure was building on Boehner to accept a deal before the day is done and that it will be a last minute thing. I was pretty sure the shutdown wasn’t going to happen. Turns out to have been right on the money. It was ashame that across the entire federal government, millions of man hours were wasted in preparing for that eventuality and pretty much everything else of the nation’s business was pushed to the side. So much for saving money. Do it again, Stupid!

  37. Dodd,

    I have no doubt that Boehner was willing to toss the PP rider overboard from Day One. Somehow I doubt the people who were lobbying so hard for that particular piece of legislation feel the same way. In either case, whatever the reason, he made the right choice in not appeasing the social conservatives in the end. It’s kind of the Mitch Daniels truce in action.

  38. Stan,

    Doug, I have investments in a lot of companies that lobby for things I don’t support and contribute to candidates I don’t like. Is this OK in your book?

    That’s voluntary. Union dues aren’t in a closed shop state.

  39. DC Loser says:

    But Doug, nobody is forcing somebody to take the union job. Something about freedom of choice or like that. They can always go work in a non-union shop.

  40. DC Loser says:

    Darren Pope – of course you’re all over giving that “crack whore’s (your term)” baby government money to raise, cloth and feed him/her, right? I mean, isn’t that what you’re saying?

  41. anjin-san says:

    Hey Darren – you can repeat Fox talking points! That is pretty cool!

    Can they make you roll over and beg and do other tricks too?

  42. anjin-san says:

    > That’s voluntary

    So is taking a job. I have passed on a number of offers over the years because of one thing or another associated with the job I was not happy with. Is that what you guys are talking about when you are always going on about freedom?

  43. So you’re in favor of compulsory unionization and political intimidation by union bosses (and don’t tell me it doesn’t happen, because it happened to my father in New Jersey in the 70s and 80s).

    Wow. Just, wow.

  44. michael reynolds says:

    Throughout modern history there have been the workers who went on strike for safe conditions and decent pay, and then there have been the other workers — the Pinkertons and their ilk — who took the rich man’s money to go out and beat down their brothers and sisters.

  45. anjin-san says:

    (and don’t tell me it doesn’t happen, because it happened to my father in New Jersey in the 70s and 80s).

    Hmm. Back in the 70s, the state bar association here tried to screw my father (did not work, he fought them and won, but that’s another story). Perhaps this means I should have some say so over your relationship with the VA bar…

  46. michael reynolds says:

    Anjin:

    I don’t know about that. I think you should ask the Koch brother’s butler, Mr. Armey. He can tell you what position to take.

  47. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Just want to reiterate that PP offers a number of health services for men, including screening for colon and testicular cancer

    But so does Obamacare, so PP is redundant and can be defunded.

  48. anjin-san says:

    > But so does Obamacare, so PP is redundant and can be defunded.

    If the right stops trying to kill HCR, perhaps. But, since the right clearly wants to kill HCR and PP, your little straw man looks kinda like, well, a straw man. When HCR is fully implemented, let’s pick that thread back up.

    You might be able to sell that cheese at a tea party meeting, but out here in the real world? Please…

  49. anjin-san says:

    Just want to reiterate that PP offers a number of health services for men, including screening for colon and testicular cancer

    But so does Obamacare, so PP is redundant and can be defunded.

    Patrick since you are clearly an expert on “Obamcare” perhaps you could tell us more about the coverage it will provide screening for colon and testicular cancer, and what the timeframes are for coverage rollout and the requirements for people to obtain coverage.

    Actually, since you are saying “so does (present tense) Obamacare”, it sounds as if you believe HCR is already providing said coverage. Is that the case? Or are you perhaps just pulling nonsense out of your ass in the service of tea party dogma?

    As we type, some people’s lives are being saved because screening caught their cancer early (such as my mother last year). Others are crossing the point of no return and will die because they don’t have access to screening.

    But don’t let that stop you from trying to work up clever (or things you consider clever) little quips about the health care situation that you can trot out on blogs.

  50. r wilson says:

    If Planned Parenthood funding actually did provide abortion services -which I understand would not be legal – would it not save taxpayer money considering the cost of obstetric and pediatric charges ans well as potential welfare?

  51. wr says:

    Hey Doug — I don’t listen to recorded music because I hate the way it gets interrupted mid-song. And I know this because in the 70s my parents bought an 8-track player, and sometime the tracks weren’t long enough to hold an entire song without swithcing.

    Oh, and I want to vote Republican because they’re the party in favor of wage and price controls. I know that because Richard Nixon proposed them in the early ’70s.

    And there’s a country club I’d love to join here in LA, but I can’t because because I’m Jewish. And I know this because I know Jewish people who applied in the early ’70s and were rejected.

    And I know these are all still completely valid issues because absolutely nothing in this country and culture has changed one tiny bit in the last four decades or so.

    So, yeah, I really understand where you get your informed view of unions.

  52. matt says:

    would rather deny a soldier on the front lines a paycheck than they would to deny a crack whore an abortion.

    Repeat after me. Less then 3% of Planned Parenthood clinics offer abortion related services. Millions of women including my fiancee go to PP for their female health needs which include pap smears breast exams birth control etc etc. If anything you should be applauding the use of birth control so those “crack whores” don’t have more abortions.

    As mentioned earlier PP also offers some health services for men 😛

  53. An Interested Party says:

    ButiIn the end what every American should learn from this fiasco is that the Democrats and Obama would rather deny a soldier on the front lines a paycheck than they would to deny a crack whore an abortion.

    I wonder how many conservatives and libertarians around here agree with this statement…

  54. MM says:

    But so does Obamacare, so PP is redundant and can be defunded.

    Apparentky people pay you to be a thinker. So are you lying or dodging the question?

  55. James in LA says:

    Both crack whores and soldiers are considered equal under the law. One person, one vote.