Would Boehner shut down the government over Planned Parenthood?

WOULD BOEHNER SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT OVER PLANNED PARENTHOOD?…. The good news is, Democrats and Republicans have reportedly reached a general agreement on the size of the cuts for the rest of the fiscal year. As of this morning, the package is up to $34.5 billion, from $33 billion, and now reportedly includes some additional reductions in military spending.

The bad news, Republicans still want to use the budget to wage a culture war, and tomorrow night, will shut down the government to advance this agenda.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the top Democrat in the Senate, said Thursday morning that he is “not nearly as optimistic” about avoiding a shutdown as he was after a Wednesday night Oval Office meeting and said “it looks like it’s headed in that direction.”

Mr. Reid said that Republicans have “drawn a line in the sand” on issues of abortion funding and changes to the clean air act, and he said those issues could not be resolved in the hours left before a government shutdown.

“The numbers are basically there. But I am not as nearly as optimistic, and that’s an understatement, as I was eleven hours ago,” Mr. Reid said on the floor of the Senate. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”

In case this isn’t already clear, we’re dealing with obvious madness. Republicans want to cut off Planned Parenthood and gut the Clean Air Act, but instead of pursuing legislation to achieve their goals, they’re insisting that this be part of the budget. Democrats can’t go along with this nonsense, and John Boehner is too weak a Speaker to tell his caucus to act like grown-ups, so the entire process is unraveling.

This has led to talk about the GOP shutting down the government over abortion, but even that’s not quite right — Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using public funds to terminate pregnancies, and has been for many years. What we’re talking about here is Republicans shutting down the government over access to contraception and family planning services.

This is the basis for the GOP hostage strategy.

President Obama will host his third budget talks in as many days in two hours, summoning Boehner and Reid to the Oval Office. Stay tuned.