As Spending Deal Looms, White House Waits While Progressives Simmer

Wherever the final line is drawn, Democrats appear willing to accept a deal close to Republican leaders’ original plan. White House aides say that such a deal could pay political dividends when the bigger fights start because the agreement would establish the president as the most reasonable politician in Washington. Progressives are not happy, however, even if Democrats are able to remove controversial GOP policy riders, such as those that eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and hamper the implementation of the health care law.

“Progressives could reasonably expect something that was more progressive than the House Republicans’ starting position,” said economic expert Michael Ettlinger of the Center for American Progress.

“There’s no victory here,” concurred Heather McGhee, the Washington director of the progressive think tank Demos. “Technically, not having any policy riders would be a win, but in terms of the pure economic impact of the budget, it is all bad for the recovery.”