Party Differences Emerge As Senate Nixes Current Year Budget Plans
The development signals that some lawmakers - including Democrats and Republicans, think more changes to Medicare, Medicaid and a range of other programs should be considered. Meanwhile, abortion funding continues to be a divisive issue. And, in an examination of longer-term budget interests, The Wall Street Journal reports that deficit reduction efforts may be gaining more allies.
The New York Times: Rival Bills To Keep The Government Running Fail In Senate
Despite the resounding defeat of both measures, lawmakers and administration officials said the outcome could open the door to a compromise by showing that neither side holds the power to push through its plan (Hulse, 3/9).
Los Angeles Times: Congress Back To The Drawing Board On Budget Cuts
The Democratic proposal to trim $6.5 billion garnered only 42 votes, with 58 lawmakers rejecting it as a paltry amount in the face of public pressure to reduce deficits. Ten Democrats - many up for reelection or who represent swing states, and one independent who caucuses with Democrats - joined all Senate Republicans in voting against that measure. Their "no" vote signals that some in the party want more cuts on the table. In addition to domestic program reductions, Democrats said changes in defense, Medicare, Medicaid, and rollbacks of tax breaks for oil, gas and agricultural companies should be considered (Mascaro, 3/10).
The Wall Street Journal: Party Rifts Exposed As Senate Nixes Bills
The jockeying over current spending looms even as a bipartisan effort to address longer-term fiscal issues, including entitlements and the tax code, gathered steam. A group of six senators from both parties have been drafting a bipartisan plan to set a broad deficit-reduction plan (Hook and Meckler, 3/10).
Roll Call: Abortion May Stall Next CR
The focus of the spending debate on Capitol Hill may be over how big the cuts should be, but House conservatives are threatening to sink a final deal on other grounds. More than a dozen House Republicans confirmed Wednesday that their vote on any long-term continuing resolution could well hinge on whether it includes language to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which offers abortion services. "I think it is critical that they put it in there for our Members," Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio) said (Palmer and Brady, 3/10).
Kaiser Health News: A Guide To GOP Proposals To Slash Family Planning
As Senate Democrats square off with House GOP leaders over the current federal budget bill, family planning funding remains an important point of contention. Republicans say tough choices need to be made in a time of fiscal austerity, but Democrats in Congress and the White House say family planning funds are essential and should not be stripped from the budget (Miles, updated 3/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Deficit Proposal Picks Up New Allies
The effort faces many hurdles. Nearly two decades have passed since Washington reached a significant deficit-reduction agreement. Many past attempts to trim the growth of Medicare or Social Security benefits have met fierce opposition (Paletta and Bendavid, 3/10).