DEMS GO EVEN FURTHER, AGREE TO $38 BILLION IN CUTS…. As of last night, the difference in proposed spend cuts between Democrats and Republicans was pretty tiny. At the White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was prepared to approve $34 billion in cuts, while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wanted $39 billion.

As of this morning, Reid had once again made yet another concession, moving closer to the GOP’s demands — leaving just one hurdle as the sticking point.

The top Democrat in the Senate says the White House and Republicans have agreed on a spending cut of $38 billion but a fight over federal dollars for Planned Parenthood is blocking a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told reporters Friday he’s cautiously optimistic after late night talks at the White House, but the budget dispute also has become a moving target.

So, over the last several days, Democrats have gone from $33 billion to $34.5 billion to $38 billion, all in the hopes of trying to satisfy Republicans. And there’s still no deal.

Note, National Journal reported the other day that Republicans were prepared to accept “$38 billion in cuts, and no policy riders” as a resolution. That is exactly what Reid has now put on the table.

Under the circumstances, this appears to be Reid’s final offer — Dems have compromised even more when it comes cuts, and are expecting Republicans to drop the culture-war riders in exchange.

“The [$38 billion] number we’re not bending on,” Reid told reporters this morning. “We’re not bending on that and we’re not bending on women’s health.” The Senate leader added that “women’s health” is the “only thing left.”

If House Republicans are waiting for an even better deal, they’re not going to get it. Either the GOP wants to avoid a shutdown or it doesn’t. Here’s their chance to answer the question.

Remember, it’s not about abortion. Yesterday, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) spoke on the House floor and said, “The American people do not want taxpayer funded abortions. That’s part of what we’re talking about. That’s part of our ideology.”

GOP ideology is irrelevant. Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using public funds to terminate pregnancies, and has been for many years. We’re simply talking about women’s health, and whether congressional Republicans find women’s health so offensive, they’re willing to shut down the government to prevent its funding.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.