Senate ‘Gang Of Six’ Develops Deficit Reduction Framework
Meanwhile, the House GOP sharpens its budget-cutting focus on Medicare and entitlements.
The Wall Street Journal: Deficit Plan Details Emerge
A bipartisan group of senators is considering legislation that would trigger new taxes and budget cuts if Congress fails to meet a set of mandatory spending targets and other fiscal goals aimed at reducing federal deficits. The plan would break the task of deficit reduction into four pieces: a tax code overhaul; discretionary spending cuts; changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements; and changes to Social Security, aides said. The Social Security system is on firmer financial footing than other major entitlement programs and raises political sensitivities that lawmakers want to deal with separately (Weisman, 2/17).
The Washington Post: Bipartisan 'Gang Of Six' In Senate Developing Framework For Deficit Reduction
That group hopes to advance the [Obama's fiscal] commission's recommendations, which would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. Doing so would require lawmakers to embrace some politically perilous policies, however, including raising the retirement age, charging wealthy seniors more for Medicare and closing cherished but expensive tax breaks that riddle the tax code (Montgomery, 2/17).
The New York Times: Political Memo: Christie, In Washington, Chides Everyone On Debt
The assessment from Mr. Christie, a first-term Republican, added another voice to the debate unfolding this week about whether leaders are addressing the long-term budget problems with sufficient seriousness and urgency. He joined what has become a steady procession of Republican governors coming to Washington, offering pointed warnings that tiptoeing around Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending is no longer acceptable. Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana presented a similar admonition a few days ago, arguing that the country's fiscal condition is a new "red menace" (Zeleny, 2/16).
Politico: Paul Ryan Vows To Target Medicare And Medicaid
The top House budget writer vowed this week to craft a blueprint for the nation's fiscal future that proposes significant reforms to Medicare and Medicaid - but not necessarily to Social Security - as he criticized President Barack Obama for choosing not to address entitlement spending in his fiscal 2012 budget (J. Allen and M. Allen, 2/17).
CQ HealthBeat: Camp Faults Obama Budget for Ducking Overhaul Of Medicare Entitlement
Republicans are cautiously considering a Medicare entitlement overhaul as their pet issue, but after Wednesday's Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Obama administration's budget it appears the adoption process may not go smoothly. One problem: They've been attacking Medicare cuts in the health care law as threatening seniors' access to care, but presumably the point of an overhaul is to tighten controls on spending in the program. Another: Though Republicans praised House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. for proposing an overhaul in his controversial "road map" plan, as a party they haven't embraced his proposal (Reichard, 2/16).