New Round Of Deficit Talks Begins Amidst Debt-Ceiling Concerns
How to handle entitlement spending issues including Medicare will be central to the discourse. Meanwhile, AARP launches a campaign to protect Medicare in the midst of it all.
The Washington Post: Budget Talks: Republicans Offer To Seek Common Ground With Democrats
Senior Republicans conceded Wednesday that a deal is unlikely on a contentious plan to overhaul Medicare and offered to open budget talks with the White House by focusing on areas where both parties can agree, such as cutting farm subsidies (Montgomery, 5/4).
The Wall Street Journal: GOP, White House Talk Deal On Debt
The deal would defer contentious decisions about Medicare, Medicaid and taxes until after the 2012 elections. If such an agreement were reached, it would allow both sides to assure financial markets and the public of their commitment to reducing the deficit and then use next year's campaign to lay out their competing visions for the future of major government programs (Wessel and Paletta, 5/5).
The New York Times: Political Memo: A Brief Victory Lap Before Budget Fight Strains 'Unity' Call
Because Republicans' and Democrats' differences on spending and taxes are so basic as to define their respective parties, they have "very different strategies for the economy and investment by the federal government and how one controls the cost of health care," Mr. Podesta added. "I don't think that any of that changes because Osama bin Laden has been killed" (Calmes, 5/4).
The Associated Press: Biden, Congressional Group Begin Budget Talks
Neither side seems to have any preconceptions that the talks would lead to a far-reaching restructuring of major benefit programs like Medicare or Medicaid or to an overhaul that makes the tax system simpler but yields more revenue (Taylor, 5/5).
Politico: Eric Cantor: I'm Still With Paul Ryan On Medicare
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is denying a published account claiming Republicans are preparing to ditch Rep. Paul Ryan's ambitious plan to revamp Medicare in pursuit of a debt ceiling compromise with Democrats - but both sides have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies, sources say (Webber, 5/4).
USA Today: Deficit Reduction Talks Face Roadblocks
A new round of negotiations headed by Vice President Biden will begin at Blair House, across from the White House, even as Democrats and Republicans in the Senate struggle to nail down a plan that could have bipartisan appeal. Those ongoing talks have the best chance of attracting the broad support that President Obama and House Republicans lack for their separate approaches. But the "Gang of Six" senators have not been able to agree on tax increases sought by Democrats or entitlement cuts favored by Republicans (Wolf, 5/5).
The New York Times: Debt Ceiling Has Some Give, Until Roof Falls In
The Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, warned Congress in April that once those resources were exhausted, the government would have to default. "A broad range of government payments would have to be stopped, limited or delayed, including military salaries and retirement benefits, Social Security and Medicare payments, interest on the debt, unemployment benefits and tax refunds," he wrote. A range of experts, including the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke; former Treasury officials from both political parties; and economists from across the ideological spectrum, warn that missing payments would be catastrophic (Applebaum, 5/4).
Politico: Paul Ryan: 2012 Politics Will Stop Big Budget Deal
Ryan, who wrote the Republican deficit reduction package that dramatically cuts spending and overhauls Medicare, blamed the partisan atmosphere and dimming prospects for a major deal on the White House (Cummings, 5/4).
CQ HealthBeat: Trigger Debate Opens New Lobbying Front In War Over Health Spending
There appears to be little doubt that everyone with a stake in current Medicare and Medicaid spending levels is witnessing the emergence of a major new front in the war over preserving the programs' federal outlays. "It is time to craft deficit reduction legislation that will stabilize debt held by the public by 2014 or 2015, and it should continue to reduce the deficit in the following years as well," Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said at a Wednesday hearing on trigger mechanisms to enforce deficit reduction (Reichard, 5/4).
The Hill: AARP Launches Campaign Opposing Entitlement Cuts As Part Of Debt Ceiling Deal
The seniors' lobby AARP launched a national campaign Wednesday urging lawmakers to reject massive cuts to Medicare and Social Security as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. The U.S. is expected to breach its $14.3 trillion debt limit by May 16, but the administration says it can stave off defaulting on its payments until Aug. 2. Lawmakers however say they want to deal with the issue before then (Pecquet, 5/4).
CQ HealthBeat: AARP Launches TV Campaign Against Cuts, Caps, Triggers in Medicare, Social Security
AARP began a national TV campaign Wednesday to fire up its members to let Congress know they don't want to see "arbitrary limits, caps or triggers" on Medicare and Social Security. A spot began airing on cable Wednesday and will be paired with a push on the group's website asking its 37 million members to contact their congressional lawmakers (Bunis, 5/4).