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Congress: Shutdown looming?

The AP: “In a deepening struggle over spending, Republicans and Democrats swapped charges yesterday over a possible government shutdown when funding expires March 4 for most federal agencies.” House Speaker Boehner “prefaced his remarks by accusing Democrats of risking a shutdown ‘rather than to cut spending and to follow the will of the American people.’ But moments later, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, retorted that Boehner was resorting ‘to threats of a shutdown without any negotiation.’”

“House Republicans believe they are on the verge of voting to end federal subsidies for public broadcasting, setting the stage for a Big Bird-size battle in the Senate and potentially thrusting the issue into the hands of President Obama, an avowed fan of the public networks,” the Boston Globe reports.

Workin’ for the Weekend? “With scores of amendments outstanding on a six-month spending measure, House GOP leaders acknowledged late Thursday that they would need at least another day to wrap up the bill before starting the Presidents Day recess,” Roll Call writes.

“The Senate adjourned Thursday evening for the Presidents Day recess after overwhelmingly passing a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration,” Roll Call writes. “The Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 2 p.m. Feb. 28. Votes on two U.S. district court nominations are planned for that afternoon. The chamber will also proceed to patent overhaul legislation.”

“Congress yesterday gave itself three more months to consider changes in provisions of antiterrorism law that have been used to track security threats but have drawn fire from defenders of privacy rights,” the AP writes. “The House voted 279 to 143 to add 90 days to the legal authority of three provisions, including two that were part of the USA Patriot Act, enacted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Senate approved the measure Tuesday evening. President Obama is expected to sign the bill before the provisions expire on Feb. 28.”

“Protesters picketed at Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol Hill residence Thursday morning, objecting to what they view as Congressional intrusion into Washington, D.C.’s local government affairs,” Roll Call reports. “Wearing tri-corner Colonial hats and waving flags reading ‘No Taxation Without Representation,’ about 20 activists from DC Vote demonstrated on the sidewalk in front of the G Street Southeast row house complex that includes the Ohio Republican’s basement apartment.”

Abortion, killing Head Start, PBS, NPR, and National Endowment of the Arts funding, and now and end to the Green the Capitol Initiative.

“The House chamber was silenced on Thursday night when California Rep. Jackie Speier (D) revealed that she had to have an abortion,” The Hill reports. “The revelation came as debate on an amendment to defund abortion provider Planned Parenthood neared its third hour.” Her speech was sparked by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) speaking out against a particular procedure.