Democrats are in a holding pattern as they wait for House Republicans to show their cards on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. Here are the three paths forward, with the caveat that the details could change a bit.
They Get A Deal
Under this scenario, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) takes a possible deal to his conference and gets the high sign. It would most likely look a lot like the package Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) outlined earlier today. It would involve about $38 billion in cuts from current spending — the slight majority of which would come from the discretionary budget — and no provision to defund Planned Parenthood. To get his caucus over the top, Boehner would win some sort of concession — what Democrats will characterize as face saving. This could be a stand-alone vote on defunding Planned Parenthood, or, as Huffington Post noted, an executive order from the President reaffirming existing law that Planned Parenthood can’t use federal funds for abortions. Or some other option.
If that flies with Republicans, the Senate and the House would pass a very brief emergency bill to keep the government funded into early next week, while aides round out the paperwork for consensus legislation to fund the government through September.
They Almost Have A Deal
If they’re genuinely baby steps away from a deal, but it’s too close to tie a bow around it, Congress could pass a one week spending bill — including troop funding — and keep at it until it’s done. Negotiations would continue through the weekend, but everything would have to be completed by next Friday.
There’s No Deal
This is the indefinite shutdown scenario. Democrats insist they will not relent on Planned Parenthood, and if the GOP doesn’t back off its demands, and there’s no plausible way around the impasse, then everybody goes home, until the shock of the shutdown forces somebody’s hand.
This is all still very fluid. Moments ago, Reid spokesman Jon Summers tweeted: “Despite tweets to the contrary, Republicans still digging in on Title X. Negotiations continue.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.