House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday hardened their public stances on negotiating a budget and policy deal to avert a shutdown of the federal government ahead of a third meeting on the matter with President Barack Obama.
The issue is ideology. Not numbers. There are a number of issues but the main two issues that are holding this matter up are the choice of women, reproductive rights and clean air, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor on Thursday.
Boehner said there was still a disagreement on making real spending cuts, said 'we were closer last night than this morning and defended the inclusion of policy elements together with the budgetary measure.
It's been a longtime practice of the House and Senate to not only set spending levels but also dictate how that money is to be spent because the Constitution requires us to determine how spending will occur, he said.
Boehner told reporters on Thursday that there were a number of issues outstanding, adding that any attempt to narrow this to one or two issues would not be accurate.
Included in the budget measure are riders, as the non-budget policy provisions in the measure are known.
In the current negotiations, Repulicans are seeking new restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency and Title X of the 1970 Public Health Service Act.
Title X deals with funding for family planning including reproductive health. Currently, Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions among other services, gets hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding annually.
The Republican proposal for EPA regulation would bar the agency from regulating greenhouse gases and ban an agency cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. It would also keep the EPA from classifying fly ash from coal-fired power plants as hazardous waste.