On Saturday in the District, the Washington Monument opened as scheduled and the Cherry Blossom Festival went on as scheduled, as federal employees got word that they were to resume their normal working hours Monday. Lawmakers and staffers who had been working around the clock to break through the stalemate left the Capitol deserted.
Many pondered the long-term impact of the fight, which exposed the depth of the discord in Washington and offered a hint of the difficulties lawmakers are likely to face as they address other fiscal issues in the coming months. Under the agreement, the current federal budget will be reduced by about $38 billion.
“While I’m glad the parties got together on a budget, I think I share the same question most Americans have: Why did it take so long?” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in a statement. “These conversations could have and should have happened weeks ago, rather than putting hundreds of thousands of Americans’ paychecks at risk.”
Democrats praised their leaders for standing firm against a Republican proposal to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which also provides other general health services to millions of low-income women.
“I congratulate both Democrats and Republicans for coming together and agreeing on a budget compromise,” Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said in a statement.
But some liberals lamented that the agreement revoked the ability of D.C. officials to use local funds to pay for abortions, and said the party went too far.
“This feels an awful lot like the tax cut deal,” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) tweeted late Friday. “I gotta bad feeling.”
Abortion foes promised to continue to lobby Congress to withhold federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. The agreement also displeased some Tea Party politicians who had called for more drastic cuts, and who will likely oppose the upcoming effort to lift the debt ceiling – a battle that could also paralyze parts of the government.
“The deal that was reached tonight is a disappointment for me and for millions of Americans who expected $100 billion in cuts, who wanted to make sure their tax dollars stopped flowing to the nation’s largest abortion provider, and who wanted us to defund ObamaCare,” Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) said in a statement.
Friday night, however, the key negotiators -- President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- praised the agreement as a hard-fought compromise that acknowledges the nation’s economic realities and prevents the damaging consequences of a government shutdown.