The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Budget Deal Set, Obama, Congress Now Face Long-Term Budget Battles

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 11, 2011 1:30PM

By coming to terms on a deal to keep the federal government running for the next six months and avoiding a shutdown, both President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner declared victory over the weekend. Obama because he avoided an potentially embarrassing government shutdown with minutes to spare; Boehner because he showed a knack for the Art of the Deal in getting Democrats to agree to more cuts than they wanted. But the deal was merely a temporary respite and sets the stage for a larger budget battle looming in the fall, the implications of which will certainly affect the 2012 elections.

If there is any good news to come out of this deal, it's that funding to Planned Parenthood was largely unaffected.

“Nope. Zero,” the president said to the speaker. Mr. Boehner tried again. “Nope. Zero,” Mr. Obama repeated. “John, this is it.” A long silence followed, said one participant in the meeting. “It was just like an awkward, ‘O.K., well, what do you do now?’ ”

Obama did warn after the budget deal was reached, however, that the cuts that are coming will hurt, and they will be deep. The two sides agreed to $13 billion in cuts at the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services; $8 billion in cuts to State and Foreign Operations, meaning that some of the more ambitious foreign policy initiatives of the Obama Administration will be curbed. Boehner's take touted the $38.5 billion in total cuts as the foundation for more to come when the two sides sit down again in the fall to hammer out the 2012 fiscal budget.

This being Washington, both sides also privately expressed reservations about their party's leaders, even as each side claimed victory over the other. The conservative and Tea Party elements of Boeher's coalition are frustrated that the cuts didn't go deep enough and that Boehner conceded Planned Parenthood. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, who introduced the proposal to strip Planned Parenthood of funding, already said he will vote against the deal. Boehner will need the support of Democrats in the House in order for this to pass. Senior White House advisers applauded the deal as another example of Obama's pragmatism and his ability to bring the two sides together to hammer out a compromise.

On the horizon is a looming fight over raising the debt ceiling. Congressional Republicans said that they will not agree to raise the debt ceiling unless deeper cuts are pursued. The White House is using the Friday deal to launch a plan later this week for longer range cuts and reintriduce tax hikes for the wealthy.