Congress averts shutdown, for now

March 2, 2011 7:20:54 PM PST
As expected, Congress avoided a government shutdown on Wednesday by passing a very short-term funding bill. The continuing resolution signed by the president in the afternoon extends funding for just the next two weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, ABC7's political analyst correctly predicted that the Republicans would not carry through on their threat to shut down the government. But Democratic members of Congress have nothing to celebrate because polls show both sides are vulnerable and both sides have agreed to kick the tough decisions down the road for at least the next two weeks.

President Barack Obama signed the continuing resolution Wednesday afternoon. It cuts $4 billion from current spending levels, but they weren't difficult cuts for Democratic members says ABC7's political analyst Prof. Bruce Cain, Ph.D.

"Basically, this round was a very easy round. It wasn't one that required accepting any core cuts to Democratic programs," said Cain.

Cain notes Republicans had pushed for $60 billion, including cuts to Planned Parenthood. Remember a couple of weeks ago when that debate drew this heated response from peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo.

"That procedure you just talked about was a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby," said Speier.

The cuts to Planned Parenthood were restored, but possibly only until the next round. Wednesday, supporters of Planned Parenthood in San Jose were manning a phone bank calling senators and citizens.

"To ask them to support us and to vote against cuts to Title 10 funding and cuts to Planned Parenthood," said Lupe Rodriguez from Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

Anti-abortion advocate Dolores Meehan, from Walk For Life West Coast, admits she is disappointed Planned Parenthood funding survived.

"Sure, disappointed, but it's a long haul. I think the cuts will come back," said Meehan.

Cain agreed saying, "The reason I think it's going to succeed eventually is that you've got a lot of Democrats in centrist states that are up for re-election."

And in those centrist states there are a lot more right-to-lifers than there are in the Bay Area and vulnerable Democratic senators might want to avoid taking a stand on abortion.

"And I think Planned Parenthood is a clear candidate that they could settle on and say, 'Yeah, let that one go,'" said Cain.

Cain says moderate Democratic senators from swing states that are up for re-election will be the ones to watch, and of course the president, who is expected to take a stronger hand in trying to work out a more long term budget deal.

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