Perilously close to a government shutdown, President Obama and congressional leaders forged agreement late tonight on a deal to cut about $38 billion in federal spending and avert the first closure in 15 years. Obama hailed the deal, finalized about an hour before a midnight deadline, as "the biggest annual spending cut in history," and House Speaker John Boehner said that over the next decade it would cut government spending by $500 billion. "This is historic, what we've done," said the third man in the talks, Harry Reid.
On side issues—"riders," the negotiators called them—the Democrats and the White House rebuffed numerous Republican attempts to curtail the reach of the EPA and sidetracked their demand to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Anti-abortion lawmakers did succeed in winning a provision to ban the use of federal or local government funds to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia. The House and Senate were rushing through a stopgap bill until the broader bill could be finalized sometime next week.