Debt Talks Continue With Medicare Losing Prominence In Discourse
But GOP plans for the 2012 federal budget set the stage for significant cuts in health discretionary spending - which are among the programs that make up the core of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Boehner Talks Tough On Spending Cuts, Seeking Leverage In Showdown Over Raising Debt Ceiling
But allies say Boehner had multiple motivations for insisting on trillions of dollars in spending cuts, and no tax increases, as the price for rounding up enough votes to allow more borrowing and prevent the country from defaulting on its debt. For one thing, public opposition has forced Republicans to de-emphasize their proposals to convert Medicare to a less costly voucher program. A more adamant stand on spending cuts could help compensate for that setback, according to members of both parties (5/11).
Bloomberg: Democrats Embrace U.S. Tax Increase Versus Medicare Cut In Debt Talks
Democrats in Congress are gaining new confidence in promoting tax increases to reduce the national debt by presenting them as the alternative to Republicans' proposed cuts in Medicare health-care coverage for the elderly. Democratic leaders are avoiding any call for tax increases on the middle class, a key voting bloc, and limiting their proposals to those that would affect wealthy individuals, oil and gas companies, and businesses accused of sending jobs overseas. Still, the posture is a shift for Democrats, who avoided voting before last year's election on the party's proposal to roll back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 a year, at the behest of lawmakers on the ballot (Davis and Dorning, 5/12).
Politico: Republicans Set Stage For Major Cuts In 2012
Picking up where April's budget agreement left off, House Republicans outlined plans Wednesday to cut another $45.7 billion from domestic spending and foreign aid next year, an 11 percent reduction designed to roll back appropriations to the levels set prior to the Democratic victories in the 2006 elections. Labor, health and education programs, the heart of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda, would be hardest hit - an $18.2 billion cut from 2011 levels and more than $41 billion or 23 percent from his 2012 request (Rogers, 5/11).
The Hill: House GOP Budget Allocation Hits Health Spending Hardest
Health and education spending would suffer the biggest cut under House Republicans' plan for divvying up discretionary spending for next fiscal year. House appropriators on Wednesday announced that they planned to allocate $139 billion for labor, health and human services and education for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. That's $18 billion less than those programs are getting this year - and more than $40 billion less than what President Obama asked for in his 2012 budget proposal (Pecquet, 5/11).