Congressional Battle Lines Emerge Over Spending Issues; Backers Continue To Press 9/11 Health Bill
On Capitol Hill, the lines are being drawn surrounding spending issues, and funding for the Obama administration's health law will be a flashpoint in the battle. Meanwhile, congressional backers of the 9/11 health bill continue to press ahead. And in action late on Sunday the Senate gives the nod to the food safety bill.
The Wall Street Journal: Budget Brawl Looms In Congress
Even as President Barack Obama signed a broad, bipartisan tax law, battle lines were being drawn over spending cuts and Mr. Obama's health-care law, setting up the likely first big fights in the new Congress (Bendavid and Weisman, 12/18).
Reuters: With Tax Deal Done, Battle Turns To Spending
The battle over tax cuts may be over, but Washington is gearing up for an epic showdown on the other side of the federal ledger: spending.The friction could impede Obama's ability to implement his signature reforms of health care and financial regulation, which have been approved but not funded. It also could put thousands of federal jobs at risk, cut federal grants and strain the ability of agencies to function on a nuts-and-bolts level (Sullivan, 12/20).
Roll Call: Graham Calls For Changes To Social Security, Medicare
Lawmakers must be willing to make difficult decisions that include changing the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare and adjusting benefits according to income in order to battle the deficit, Sen. Lindsey Graham argued Sunday (Starkey, 12/19).
The Associated Press: Backers Of 9/11 Health Bill Optimistic
"We are on the verge of a Christmas miracle," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Gillibrand and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are offering a less-costly alternative to the original bill to aid 9/11 responders and survivors, saying that they believe it will gain needed support from the GOP. They said the Senate was expected to consider the new bill once they finish dealing with the U.S.-Russia treaty on nuclear weapons (Miga, 12/19).
Reuters: U.S. Senators See Chance For Passing 9/11 Health Bill
A retooled bill providing medical care for firefighters and other emergency responders to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks could be resurrected soon in the U.S. Senate, a few weeks after Republicans blocked the measure, backers said on Sunday. They hope to do that by producing a less expensive bill that they said would end up paying for itself, with $57 million left over in a 10-year period. That money could be used for deficit reduction, they said (Cowan, 12/19).
Congressional Quarterly: Backers Of Sept. 11 Health Legislation Give Their Effort One Last Shot
Senate proponents of legislation to provide health care and compensation to responders to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks introduced a scaled-down version of the measure with a new funding mechanism Sunday in an 11th-hour bid to win GOP support (Ota, 12/19).
Politico: Schumer: 9/11 Bill Must Pass Now
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday that the House should stay in session until the Senate passes a new version of a bill aimed at giving health benefits to Ground Zero workers (Kliff, 12/20).
The Hill: New York's Dem Senators See Breakthrough On 9/11 Healthcare Bill
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced Sunday that they have struck a deal with Senate Republicans to pass a 9/11 healthcare bill, one of the last items remaining on the lame-duck schedule (Bolton, 12/19).
Politico: Senate OKs Food Safety Measure
The Senate on Sunday night cleared a food safety package, curbing earlier fears the popular bill would die by the end of this session as a result of a procedural error by upper chamber lawmakers (Shiner, 13/19).