The last time there was a federal government shutdown in the US was 1995.
Today’s conflict is again over health care, with the headlining debate over defunding Planned Parenthood. Though this is a meager, financially speaking, part of the proposed 2011 budget cuts, it has a heavy emotional weight with the voting population. Last night, it was proposed that the Planned Parenthood rider be separated from the budget proposal.
Durbin later qualified his statement. He told reporters that negotiators had mulled the possibility of separating the Planned Parenthood rider. He said he did not know whether House Republicans would accept the compromise.
“We’re hoping,” he said. “[There’s] a procedural way to deal with that.”
Last year, $75 million of Title X funding went to Planned Parenthood affiliates, which Republicans object to and attempted or are attempting to remove from the fiscal year 2011 budget. Planned Parenthood provides abortion services but can’t use federal money for them. Republicans argue there’s no real way to segregate the private dollars dedicated to abortion services and the federal dollars backing other areas of care.
That disagreement was major stumbling block in negotiations for most of Thursday and Friday.
No one wants a shutdown, but I don’t want the funding issue to be put on the back burner either. While it’s not a lot of money in federal terms, the principal idea is certainly not democratic. Planned Parenthood receives federal money to provide a service that the federal government should really be providing themselves in order to allow citizens the shape the service. Some states have had success in regulating Planned Parenthood, while others have been threatened with costly lawsuits and have been unable to “have their say” about clinic procedures, even though their citizens’ tax dollars are funding the organization. There’s something fundamentally wrong about that. I don’t want a shutdown, but I don’t want to stop talking about Planned Parenthood.