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Latest Talks on Budget Fail in Deadlock on Abortion

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk with Chief of Staff Bill Daley, left, and senior advisor David Plouffe in the Oval Office, on April 7, 2011. (Photo: Pete Souza / White House)

Washington – Congressional budget negotiations broke up before dawn on Friday without an agreement, putting the government on a path to a shutdown when financing for federal agencies runs out at midnight.

Senior Congressional officials said the negotiations in the Capitol ended about 3 a.m. and that no new talks were scheduled. President Obama late on Thursday had urged negotiators to reach a deal in the morning if possible so the government would not have to put into motion the machinery of a shutdown.

Officials said that Democrats had made concessions on both money and policy, and had moved toward the position of House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio on the overall level of spending, agreeing to $37 billion in cuts, with less of it coming from the Pentagon than Democrats had initially sought.

Democratic officials familiar with the negotiations said that proposed restrictions on money for Planned Parenthood remained the chief sticking point, and that attempts to resolve the disagreement through alternatives like allowing a separate floor vote on the issue had not been successful. Democrats said they were told by the Republicans that the votes of anti-abortion social conservatives would be needed to move any budget measure through the House.

Republicans said that no final agreement on money had been struck, and that both policy and spending issues were causing the impasse.

“The largest issue is still spending cuts,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, said Friday morning.

The different interpretations showed that, with a partial shutdown of the federal government becoming more likely, both sides were trying to frame the causes of the impasse to their political advantage. Some top Republicans worry that they are danger of being seen to shut down the government over social issues and a relatively small difference in money. Mr. Boehner on Wednesday had sought $39 billion in spending cuts, only $2 billion more than the Democrats were ready to accept overnight.

House Republicans were scheduled to meet on Friday to review the status of the negotiations.

This article “Latest Talks on Budget Fail in Deadlock on Abortion” originally appeared at The New York Times.

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