KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House GOP Seeks Steep Spending Cuts, But Delays Day Of Reckoning

In the next budget battle chapter, House Republicans plan to demand spending cuts that would balance the budget in 10 years and require significant changes to Medicare and other safety-net programs.

The New York Times: House Votes Sidesteps An Ultimatum On Debt
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader … said he would take up and pass the House bill without changes as soon as next week. … He said he would then move quickly on a budget plan for the first time since 2009. "Democrats are eager to contrast our pro-growth, pro-middle-class budget priorities with the House Republicans' Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it … ," said Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee. House Republicans appeared eager for that fight. For two years, the House has passed detailed but nonbinding budget plans that would cut domestic programs …  enact changes to Medicare that would offer older people fixed subsidies to buy private health insurance, and mandate a much-simplified tax code. … Now, Republicans said, the debate will be over numbers (Weisman, 1/23).

Los Angeles Times: House GOP Seeks Steep Cuts While Raising Debt Ceiling
Stepping up their austerity campaign, House Republicans plan to demand far deeper spending cuts from President Obama to balance the federal budget in just 10 years, an extraordinary goal that would hit Medicare and other safety-net programs. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), confronted with a more conservative Republican majority, agreed to the dramatic initiative to coax reluctant rank-and-file lawmakers Wednesday to approve a temporary suspension of the $16.4-trillion debt limit without any cuts in spending (Mascaro, 1/23).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: A Revised Deficit Collision Course: Senate Dems Eye New Taxes, GOP Seeks Deeper Spending Cuts
The nation's sharp disagreements over taxes and spending are on a re-routed collision course, as Senate Democrats launch a plan that includes new taxes and House Republicans vow to speed up their plan to balance the federal budget with spending cuts alone. The Republicans' new approach would require even deeper cuts in social programs than they pushed last year. Liberals denounced those earlier plans as severe and unfair, and they say the new version would be worse (1/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Passing Debt Bill, GOP Pledges End To Deficits
The House defused one potential debt crisis Wednesday, while a top Republican set the stage for a far broader debate over whether it is possible to actually balance the U.S. budget in coming years (Hook, Boles and O'Connor, 1/23).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Ryan Expects 'Big Down Payment' On Debt
The Wisconsin Republican, long a favorite of conservative activists, said the budget would rely on the new tax revenue Congress agreed to earlier this month. But he provided few other details for how he would plan to erase deficits that exceed $1 trillion beyond broad promises to cut additional money from popular entitlements and other safety nets for the poor and elderly, highlighting Medicaid, the health-care program for low-income Americans (O'Connor and Boles, 1/23).

Politico: Next Up: Sequester, Budget Resolution
The dueling House and Senate budget resolutions could force the two parties into a serious policy debate over cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid — as well as whether to raise new taxes through a reform of the Tax Code — something that was largely avoided in the previous Congress. How this is resolved will define Obama's second term in office and whether Capitol Hill can finally get a handle on its finances — or fall into yet another crisis (Raju and Bresnahan, 1/23).

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