President Barack Obama had finally reached his breaking point.
For more than an hour in an Oval Office meeting on April 7, House Speaker John Boehner had insisted that any compromise on the government’s budget include a prohibition on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.......Obama already had reluctantly agreed to a provision banning the District of Columbia from spending funds on abortion services -- and that was as far as he would go......“Nope, zero,” he told Boehner, according to a senior Democratic aide. “John, this is it.” The room went silent.
The tense negotiations culminating in a last-minute deal the next night to avert a government shutdown underscored the challenges facing both Boehner and Obama as they tackle the fiscal issues that will dominate the debate during the next two years in Washington.
The next night, the parties reached agreement on the broad composition of a bill that included $38 billion in cuts. Yet the sticking point remained the Planned Parenthood funding ban, which Republicans said was non-negotiable.
Democrats were adamant that it not be in the bill, knowing the provision would inflame their base and could alienate the independent voters whose support Obama will need to win a second term.