KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Politics And Personalities Swirl Around Budget Negotiations

The Wall Street Journal reports that House Democrats are gaining leverage - and, according to The Washington Post, Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., is a key liberal leader. Meanwhile, statements by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a GOP presidential hopeful, highlight the GOP's rift.

The Wall Street Journal: Pelosi And House Democrats Gain Leverage
Rep. Robert Andrews (D., N.J.) said that even if Ms. Pelosi ultimately voted against the deal, her involvement in the process could pave the way for other Democrats to support it. In the talks, she has pushed for revenue increases sufficient to meet Democrats' demands for a what they call a "balanced" package with spending cuts. "She's been giving us basically two messages," he said. "One is: The Democratic values that we cherish - Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid - are not being glossed over at this table. She's making sure they are front-and-center. But the second is: She's giving the president room to make an agreement that would benefit the country" (Bendavid, 7/15).

The Washington Post: Edwards Emerging As Liberal Leader In The House
Last Friday night, Edwards sent a letter to President Obama signed by 69 fellow House Democrats urging him to keep the programs "off the bargaining table" in the ongoing debt-ceiling negotiations. The day before, on July 7, Edwards surprised colleagues at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement when she publicly chastised her Maryland neighbor, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, over entitlement reform. The quick succession of events illustrated what Edwards has become just three years into her congressional tenure - an increasingly prominent voice among liberal House Democrats (Pershing, 7/14).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Bachmann Reveals Rift In GOP
Taking the vanguard of a Republican revolt against President Obama and their own GOP leaders, Rep. Michele Bachmann and two other Tea Party members said Wednesday there is no need to raise the federal debt limit in order to continue paying Social Security benefits. ... Bachmann joined with Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a close ally, to introduce a bill that they said would sidestep default by limiting government payments primarily to holders of U.S. debt and members of the military. King acknowledged that the plan would leave room for only 58 percent of federal obligations, forcing cuts of about $1 trillion a year. Social Security, Medicare, defense and interest on the national debt alone make up 56 percent of the U.S. budget, so the bill would essentially force the government to abandon almost all other functions (Diaz,7/14). 

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