...literally, metaphorically and emotionally. Here's the current landscape in Washington DC:
-Temperatures are hovering in the low 30s, snow is falling and there are warnings of the dreaded "wintry mix."
-Disgruntled Republicans in Congress, unhappy with the President's proposed stimulus plan, are resorting to their usual divide and conquer politics.
-On Meet the Press, House Minority Leader Boehner ridicules the inclusion of family planning services and contraceptives for low-income Americans in the stimulus package.
-And the White House is signaling it will meet the minority more than halfway by asking Representative Waxman to drop the provision.
As my colleague Cory Richards illustrates over at RH Reality Check, federal funding of family planning services pays for itself in the short and long term.
When the Congressional Budget Office assessed a virtually identical provision in 2007, it found that it would save the federal government $200 million over five years by helping women voluntarily avoid pregnancies that otherwise would result in Medicaid-funded births. An expansion such as the one permitted by the stimulus package could save Rep. Boehner's state of Ohio $1.4 million in 2009 -- money that could make a real difference in a hard-hit state that is struggling with significant budget shortfalls.
Having such a common-sense, common-ground measure thrown overboard so early in this new Administration is disappointing to say the least. It sends a disheartening signal about President Obama's willingness to back down in the face of any political opposition. Even more troubling, it belies his rhetoric and rallying cry that now is a time when "We're in it together."
When portfolios are shrinking and people are laying awake at night worrying about finding a job, keeping the one they have or how they are going to make do with less, can't we acknowledge that it is nice to snuggle up with a loved one without the fear of making a baby you're definitely, positively sure you cannot take care of right now? I mean really, where is the love in this town? Brrrrrr.