With just hours to go, a government shut down hangs in the balance as President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders remain at a stalemate with no signs of compromise.
Democrats say they made concessions to reach $37 billion in cuts, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Friday morning that a dispute over women’s health services – namely a rider that would cut funding for Planned Parenthood has prevented a deal.
Senator Harry Reid said: “The debate has nothing to do with the number. It has every thing to do with women’s health. That was the only issue that was left undone when we left the White House last night.”
House Speaker John Boehner didn’t mention the women’s issue in his own brief statement this morning. Instead, he blamed Democrats and the White House for not being serious about cutting government spending:
As the deadline gets closer the Obama Administration has readied furlough notices for hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are deemed non essential. Willow Belden explains what that means.
The precise definition of an “essential service” is a bit of a gray area. Each government agency essentially gets to choose which employees are indispensible. But some things are definite. Services protecting national security or public safety, keep going.
Federal prisons will remain open. Air traffic controllers will stay on the job. And our troops will keep fighting overseas.
People receiving social security or unemployment benefits will get their checks. And since the post office has a separate budget, you’ll still get your mail.
But here’s what will change:
The IRS won’t process tax returns. And if you’re trying to go to a national park … or get a new passport, that’s not going to happen.
Union leaders have filed suit, saying that making some federal employees work without pay violates the U.S. Constitution.
France’s embassy in Ivory Coast says the ambassador’s residence was hit by two mortar shells and a rocket fired from positions held by forces supporting the country’s strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to emerge from a bunker at his residence next door to the embassy.
A French statement says it is the second such attack in 48 hours. It did not say if there were any casualties
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $70 million to settle civil and criminal charges for bribing doctors in Europe and paying kickbacks to the Iraqi government to illegally obtain business.
The government accused Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries of providing money and travel gifts to doctors in Greece, Poland and Romania in exchange for their prescribing Johnson & Johnson products to patients. Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries also allegedly paid kickbacks to the Iraqi government to obtain contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Program.
NATO has acknowledged that its airstrikes hit rebels tanks in eastern Libya, but insisted that no one told them the rebels used tanks.
British Rear Admiral Russell Harding, the deputy commander of the NATO operation, said he regretted the accident, but did not apologize.
“I am not apologizing. The situation on the ground, as I said was extrememly fluid and remains extremely fluid.”
NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, however, expressed regret over the loss of life, saying alliance forces were doing everything possible to avoid harming civilians.