Here and Now

Presidential Address Timing, Possible Hospital Merger Solutions: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm: There’s a lot of chatter today still about the dustup between President Obama and John Boehner over the jobs address — now scheduled for next Thursday. We’ll have some follow-up.

1:12pm: Many of America’s most powerful women are graduates of Trinity college, a small and little-known Catholic women’s college founded in 1897 by a group of nuns dedicated to the education of women. We’ll talk to the college’s president about how Trinity’s mission has changed and is growing.

1:35pm: The University of Louisville has expanded its partnership with Baptist Hospital East, saying it will relocate procedures that will eventually be banned at U of L Hospital after the three-way merger involving Catholic Health Initiatives. The merger has caused a lot of concern in the community, and we’ll find out more about it. Read the Catholic Health Directives, which the new, merged hospital group will be expected to follow, here.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Despite Challenges and CBO Report, McConnell Supports Boehner Plan

Despite challenges within the Republican Party and projections that other congressional plans would result in more savings, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated his support for House Speaker John Boehner’s plan Wednesday.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said the proposal will prevent a government default before the August 2 deadline and reduce Washington spending. And unlike President Barack Obama, McConnell points out Boehner was courageous enough to provide the country with an option.

“And what about the President’s plan? Well, when asked the President’s plan, his aides point to a speech and a veto threat,” McConnell said. “With all due respect, Congress can’t vote on a speech, and a veto threat won’t prevent default. The fact is, Republicans have offered the only proposal at this point that attempts to get at the root of the problem—and which actually has a chance of getting to the President’s desk.”

From McConnell’s office:

But the speaker’s proposal had trouble getting out of the GOP caucus after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported it fell short of its projected savings. The mathematical snafu forced Republicans to re-work the plan and postpone a vote scheduled for this week.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

President Obama Unveils Deficit Reducion Plan

Vowing to cut $4 trillion in federal spending over 12 years, President Barack Obama outlined his plan to reduce the country’s debt that pairs cost-cutting measures with tax increases for the wealthy.

A summary of the proposal reins in entitlement program spending, cuts the defense budget, raises $1 trillion by closing loopholes in the tax code and assumes the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000 will end. The president vowed to not extend those tax cuts again, despite compromising with congressional Republicans on the issue in December.

“We cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire  in our society,” he said. “And I refuse t0 renew them again.”

That part of the plan has receive the most criticism, and is expected to ignite fierce fight in Washington. GOP leaders have already rejected any plan that includes tax hikes for wealthier Americans.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Budget Deal Reached, Shutdown Averted

An hour before the midnight Friday deadline, Speaker John Boehner said Friday night that a deal has been reached with Democrats on the federal budget to avoid a government shutdown.

The proposal raised the level of cuts to $39 billion from this year’s budget, but spared slashes to groups such as Planned Parenthood while resolving other policy disagreements around social issues that were attached to the legislation.

The negotiators will vote on a stopgap funding bill fund the government through the weekend.

Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama said he was pleased that Americans of different beliefs came together to avert a shutdown.

“Behind me, through the window, you can see the Washington Monument, visited each by hundreds of thousands from around the world,” Mr. Obama said. “Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business.”

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth: Chances of Shutdown Deal Are “Very Slim”

With less than 11 hours before the midnight Friday deadline, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., called proposed cuts made by Republicans reckless and doubted a deal will be made to stop a government shutdown.

Top Democrats and Republicans have publicly disagreed about the reasons for an impasse.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters both parties agreed to $38 billion in cuts on Thursday, but negotiations collapsed due to a dispute over funding for the group Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and other health services.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., however, has insisted the disagreement isn’t over social issues, but rather the overall spending cuts proposed in the deal.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Shutdown Could Play Out as National Failure

In previous stories we’ve asked who the American people will blame if the federal government shuts down. As usual, political observers disagree and point back to the last shutdown as some sort of road map.

The National Journal’s Matthew Cooper says no matter who is to blame—President Barack Obama, Speaker John Boehner or all of the above—the failure will be shared by us all, many of whom will feel the lack of certain services if an agreement isn’t reached before midnight Friday.

From the National Journal:

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took their offices with the promise of reconciliation and productivity. Instead, the government of the most powerful nation on earth is about to run out of money and shut down, putting thousands out of work and shutting down everything from military pay to the National Zoo.

How did it—this incompetence—get this bad? After all, the fight over about $7 billion in differences in this year’s budget is about .02 percent of the $3.5 trillion federal budget. It’s like a family making $100,000 falling apart over $20. And then there’s the fighting over intractable issues like abortion, as if either party was about to renounce long-held philosophies and faiths.

The countdown to shutdown continues.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Shutdown Negotiations Yield No Deal

With less than a day until a government shutdown, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach an agreement Thursday night.

The president met with Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reach an agreement on a federal budget before the midnight Friday deadline. All sides have said their differences have been narrowed, but a divide remains over abortion policy as a shutdown looms.

“I expect an answer in the morning,” the president said during a brief press conference at the White House.

Mr. Obama has directed his aides to work through the night and has reportedly cancelled a trip to Indianapolis.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Federal Government Shutdown Looms

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders have until midnight Friday to reach a budget agreement before the federal government shuts down, but it’s unclear which side will be blamed if it does.

House Republicans have submitted a plan that would cut trillions of dollars from the budget over the next decade.The White House and congressional Democrats have rejected the plan, saying it burdens poorer Americans.

University of Louisville political science Professor Dewey Clayton says it looks like an agreement may not happen, which could backfire on either President Barack Obama or Speaker John Boehner.

“It seems increasingly that the Republican leadership in particular is fearful of a shutdown because they think that ultimately they may pay politically because of this. And so I would not be surprised in the eleventh hour if Boehner breaks away from the tea partiers and comes up with some sort of compromise,” he says.

The latest polling indicates that there is enough blame to go around.

According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, 37 percent of respondents would blame congressional Republicans if there was a shutdown. Another 20 percent say they would blame Mr. Obama.

Clayton says if a shutdown occurs, people will begin to see federal services they take for granted affected at the local level.

“There are a lot of local federal offices here, and if these people shut down or even go on a sort of limited basis as such that’s going to tie things up,” he says. “When people call looking for services that’s going to be a huge inconvenience to a lot of people and people are not going to be happy about that.”

The last government shut down was from late 1995 to early 1996.