The most difficult provision was a proposal to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Jackson, Boehner’s chief of staff, told Democrats the Planned Parenthood provision was non-negotiable. The president and Reid, during negotiations in the Oval Office, were equally inflexible.
Staff then met back at the Capitol until sometime between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Friday to try hashing out a compromise but were unable to resolve the issues. Republicans at one point proposed requiring Democrats to strip the Planned Parenthood rider from the bill on the Senate floor and sending it back to the House. Under the GOP proposal, if the Senate was unable to strip the provision, Republicans wanted a guarantee that the president would sign the bill. Democrats refused.
Later Friday morning, the president sent an offer to the House, and at 11:30 a.m. the House sent back a counter-offer. The numbers were close, but the Planned Parenthood issue was not yet resolved. Offers and counter-offers continued through the day with the clock ticking. Boehner ultimately relented on the Planned Parenthood rider in return for a Senate vote on the issue.
And Republicans kept pushing for more cuts up to the end.
At one point, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Reid to ask him to agree to more spending cuts, given that the major riders were coming out of the bill.
The two sides finally reached a deal on a topline spending number at 8 p.m. and on the rest of the package at 10:30 p.m. after tables were prepared showing exactly where the cuts would go.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.