President Barack Obama has told Speaker John Boehner he won’t accept cuts to Planned Parenthood and can’t make any new concessions to avert a government shutdown without movement from the GOP, ambulance sources close to the process tell Politico.
Frustration is building in the White House over the high-wire budget negotiations with Republicans. The sense in the West Wing is that Boehner and his aide-de-camp Barry Jackson have repeatedly offered to set aside the Planned Parenthood issue in exchange for greater spending cuts from Obama, only to later say that the Planned Parenthood cuts are still on the table.
Boehner was vague when asked if Title X funding, some of which goes to Planned Parenthood, was still a sticking point.
“Almost all of the policy issues have been dealt with,” he told reporters at the Capitol on Friday. “The big issue is over the spending … We’re not going to roll over and sell out the American people like has been done time and time again in Washington … We’re damn serious.”
But a person familiar with the negotiations says Boehner has privately kept the Title X issue on the table, perhaps as a bargaining tactic, even as Obama and Senate Democrats agreed to a total of $38 billion in cuts for the fiscal year ending on Oct. 1.
Obama, people close to him say, hasn’t been pushed any further than he was already willing to go on the cuts — and he doesn’t think the speaker has dealt in bad faith. But he has reached the end of his tether and wants to see concessions from Boehner who finds himself squeezed between the White House, tea-party-tinged fiscal conservatives and an eleventh-hour push by social conservatives in his caucus.
When asked if the Planned Parenthood rider was still part of the negotiations — or if the talk had narrowed down to strictly fiscal issues — one House GOP aide said, “It’s all connected. Not that simple.”
Obama spoke with Boehner earlier Friday — a conversation described as short, polite and to the point — and is likely to continue talking to him at some point Friday. It’s also likely that Obama will make a statement on Friday, depending on the outcome and timing of the talks.