Government shutdown looms as U.S. budget talks enter final minutes

Issue of federal funding for abortion hindering bi-partisan compromise

Budget talks in the U.S. enter their final minutes on Friday as a government shutdown deadline approaches, with Democrats and Republicans unable to come to a compromise over federal spending cuts, particularly in the area of women’s health. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that while both sides had agreed to $38-billion in spending cuts, they were unable to come to a consensus on federal funding for abortion. “This has been a moving target but now we’ve come to realize that the moving target is now focused on a bull’s eye on women in America,” said Reid. Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, have been pressured by the conservative Tea Party movement to secure at least $60-billion in spending cuts, but Democrats, who initially accepted only $33-billion in cuts, say the amount demanded by the Republicans would hinder U.S. economic growth. Should talks stall and the government shut down, 800,000 government employees, including U.S. troops, would have their pay suspended. The last government shutdown happened in 1995, when the Republican Congress led by Newt Gingrich, in a dispute with President Bill Clinton, forced a 20-day shutdown.

BBC News

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