US Government Stays Open For Business

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POSTED: Saturday, April 9, 2011 - 7:44am

UPDATED: Sunday, April 10, 2011 - 9:00am

Hours before their deadline, lawmakers in Washington avoided a government shutdown with a contentious budget battle.

Cut a deal, or close down the government -- that was the choice as House Republicans huddled for a dramatic late-night meeting less than two hours before a budget deadline.

Democrats claim negotiators have decided on the numbers - $78 billion in cuts.

"All we need for them to say is the agreement we made last night will be fulfilled", says Sen. Harry Reid (D, NV).

But Republicans say they never signed off on a deal, as House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama negotiated over the phone.

Lawmakers couldn't even reach an agreement on exactly what the fight was about.

"The shutdown on entire government hinges on taking away health care of women", contends Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D, IL).

Democrats say Republicans insisted on de-funding Planned Parenthood, but those Republicans say this fight is about spending cuts, and nothing more.

"It's not about women's health, it's about economic health", claims Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R, WY).

At the Washington Monument, just a few of the 800,000 workers facing furloughs locked the doors Friday evening - not knowing when they'd come back.

This fight is about this year's spending plan; the next fight will be over the 2012 budget.

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