Senate Dems Signal Hard Line On Medicare In Budget Talks
Although Vice President Joe Biden offered an optimistic assessment of progress in the budget talks that he has been leading, Senate Democratic leadership reiterated yesterday that Medicare cuts should not be on the table during these negotiations.
The Associated Press: Biden 'Confident' Budget Talks With Lawmakers Will Produce 'Well Beyond' $1T In Deficit Cuts
Even as Vice President Joe Biden gave his most optimistic assessment yet of budget talks he's leading, President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the Senate signaled Tuesday a harder line on Medicare. That stance is complicating any effort to produce a deal to cut the deficit by $2 trillion or more over the coming decade or so (Taylor, 6/15).
ABC: On Medicare, Senate Democrats Say They Won't Accept A 'Mini' Ryan Plan
The Senate Democratic leadership came out today and reaffirmed that Medicare cuts should not be on the table during the debt ceiling discussions. "Seniors can't afford it," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said following today's policy luncheons, "The vast majority of the American people, including most Republicans, do not support changing Medicare as we know it, that piece of legislation that came from the House" (Miller, 6/14).
Politico: Biden Group Gets Down To Business On Budget Deficit
In this atmosphere, discretionary appropriations - covering the daily operations of agencies as well as defense and foreign aid - become a favorite target. This was the same battleground that preoccupied Congress for the first four months of this year, and while less than a third of the total government spending, this sector regularly accounts for a disproportionate share of most deficit reduction plans. Even the much touted presidential debt commission last December, which added revenues and entitlement savings to the mix, still counted on discretionary spending for half of the deficit reduction achieved in its plan. And Biden now faces former Senate colleagues refusing to cut any Medicare benefits as evidenced in the Democratic press conference Tuesday - and Republicans like Cantor and Boehner balking at any new tax revenues to close the gap (Rogers, 6/15).
In the background, some House and Senate Republicans are asking for a detailed legislative proposal from the Obama administration regarding plans to shore up Medicare
The Hill: Top Budget Republicans Demand Presidential Action On Medicare
The top Republicans on the House and Senate budget committees demanded Tuesday that President Obama submit a proposal to shore up Medicare, which they say is required by law. "Given the severity of this problem and your legal obligations, the nation needs leadership on this issue," says the letter from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). "Therefore, we reasonably expect your administration to submit a detailed legislative proposal to Congress addressing the Medicare funding warning as required by law," (Pecquet, 6/14).