As Debt-Ceiling Disputes Continue, Entitlements Haunt Discussion
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner each delivered prime time addresses Monday night, capping an extraordinary day of partisan debt-ceiling dueling. As the clock continues to tick toward the Aug. 2 deadline, specifics from the two very different plans emerged - one offered by House Republicans and the other by Senate Democrats.
The Washington Post: President Obama, House Speaker Boehner Present Dueling Debt-Limit Plans To Nation
As Boehner tried to rally support for his two-step plan to cut $3 trillion in spending, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) offered a strikingly similar proposal for increasing the debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline. The two leaders, however, remained bitterly divided over Boehner's demand to hold another vote next year to further expand the government's borrowing authority (Kane and Montgomery, 7/25).
The Associated Press: Rival Plans Ensnarl Congress Over Debt Ceiling
The Senate plan, unveiled Monday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the proposal announced the same day by Boehner overlap in significant ways. Both identify about $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to the day-to-day operating budgets of government agencies, though Reid's proposal also counts an extra $1 trillion in savings from winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both proposals would create a bipartisan congressional commission to identify further deficit reductions, especially in major health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The primary difference between the two is timing. Reid's proposal would raise the debt ceiling enough so that it wouldn't have to be reconsidered until 2013, beyond the 2012 elections, as demanded by Obama. The GOP plan would only extend the debt ceiling for about six months (Kuhnhenn, 7/26).
The New York Times: Parties Head To Showdown As Obama Warns Of A 'Crisis'
The Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House on Monday barreled toward a showdown on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt limit as a resolution to the intensifying crisis remained farther from sight just one week before a possible federal default (Hulse and Calmes, 7/25).
Los Angeles Times: Prodding Congress To Act, Obama Warns Of 'Collateral Damage' To Nation In Debt Fight
President Obama on Monday issued a grave warning against prolonging the current political stalemate and specifically called on the freshmen in the House Republican caucus to bring it to an end. Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) immediately challenged Obama's account of the debt standoff, saying in his own nationally televised speech that there is no stalemate in Congress. But the dueling speeches illustrate the depth of the conflict, just seven days from the Aug. 2 deadline when Treasury officials estimate the government will run out of cash to pay its bills. If the Congress hasn't voted by then to raise the debt limit, currently $14.3 trillion, the government will no longer be able to borrow funds to cover its deficit and will have to choose which bills to pay. That could mean that millions of government beneficiaries expecting Social Security checks, disability payments or salaries will go without or get much less than expected (Parsons and Mascaro, 7/25).
The Wall Street Journal: Obama Warns Of Default Risk
On Monday, each side sought to frame the debate to its advantage. Mr. Boehner said the first step of a debt-ceiling increase would carry the government through February or March, while imposing spending cuts of $1.2 trillion through a series of budget caps. In addition, Congress would vote by year's end on a balanced-budget amendment. A committee of 12 lawmakers would then recommend ways to cut the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion more, probably through an overhaul of the tax system and changes to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. If Congress enacts the recommendations, Mr. Obama could propose a second debt-limit increase of up to $1.5 trillion, which could only be rejected by a two-thirds vote of both chambers of Congress (Bendavid and Lee, 7/26).
The Washington Post: As State Of Play In Debt Talks Changes By The Moment, Even Lobbyists Struggle To Keep Up
Advocacy groups that have spent months anticipating exactly the stalemate Washington has now reached are working to apply pressure to nudge political leaders engaged in talks on raising the nation's debt ceiling. But with the state of play changing by the moment, advocates are able to offer only the broadest of thoughts about how to proceed (Helderman, 7/25).
The Fiscal Times: Debt Ceiling Dread: Two Plans, Two Parties, Oceans Apart
Earlier today, Obama renewed his call for the Republicans to return to the bargaining table to produce a balanced long-term deficit reduction plan that included cuts in spending including for Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, and some increases in taxes on the wealthy and corporations. ... [Obama said] "I'm willing to take on the rising costs of health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid to make sure they're strong and secure for future generations" (Pianin and DePaul, 7/25).
Modern Healthcare: Tighter Medicaid Eligibility Considered
Bipartisan support for tightening Medicaid eligibility could allow such a measure's inclusion in a deficit-reduction deal, according to congressional sources. Bills by Republicans and a Democrat limiting Medicaid eligibility under the 2010 health care reform law would save a net $13 billion over the first 10 years, according to new Congressional Budget Office estimates. Congressional staffers said the bipartisan support for the savings achieved by eligibility tightening indicates the measures are candidates for inclusion in any deal reached to lower future deficits, as part of an agreement to raise the federal debt limit (Daly, 7/25).
Politico: Cash Sought To Prevent Diabetes
Left unchecked, diabetes is a ticking time bomb of a disease in an individual's life. It's also a $3.4 trillion-a-decade threat to the nation's fiscal health and a huge driver of Medicare costs. The health reform law authorized the National Diabetes Prevention Program - but didn't actually provide any funds for it. Another piece of the massive law, the Prevention and Public Health Fund, provides mandated dollars that could be a funding source for the diabetes program, but that fund is likely to be slashed in half in the debt ceiling negotiations (Webber, 7/25).