By Amy Davidson
“The only thing left undone when we left the White House last night was women’s health,” Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader, told reporters this morning. By “last night” he meant 3 A.M., and by “women’s health” he didn’t even mean abortion, or not directly; our government may be about to shut down because of Republicans who regard it as perfidious that Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings for lower-income women. That’s what the funding at issue is for, not abortions; but the Republicans argue that it will somehow free up money for that. More likely, cutting money for cancer screenings will mean fewer cancer screenings; blood-pressure screenings are at issue, too. In some communities, Planned Parenthood is the most accessible health-care provider women have. Ezra Klein, at the Washington Post, points to a chart from the group breaking down what it does. (Cancer screenings and prevention: sixteen per cent; abortion services: three per cent.)
John Boehner said that the real issue is still spending; Reid told reporters to use the Freedom of Information Act to get the notes of the negotiation sessions. (Good idea.) Reid also said, “The Republican House leadership have only a couple of hours to look in the mirror, snap out of it and realize how truly shameful they have been”—“shameless” would have worked there, too. (Why is this more a matter of Republicans taking away money than Democrats trying to get it? Because it involves the Republicans tacking a policy rider to the budget that specifically targets Planned Parenthood.) The Tea Party members, Harry Reid said, “are willing to throw women under the bus.”
- My wife and I have been married for more than 50 years. We have one daughter and nine granddaughters. I love these women. One day, one of them may need a cancer screening.
And whatever one thinks of the merits: this is the issue that shuts down the government? “If you can find an adult over there, I’m happy to meet with ’em,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said to reporters, speaking of her Republican counterparts. Are the adults, in this case, the ones who are only focussed on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? That is depressing, too.
Congress has until midnight, or the government shuts down. We’ll keep watching.
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