Budget battles brewing over Medicare, other entitlements

Published on April 8, 2013 at 12:52 AM · No Comments

News outlets covered the reaction from Democrats and Republicans to the president's budget plan, to be officially released Wednesday. 

The Associated Press: Budget Not 'Ideal' But Has 'Tough Reforms'
President Barack Obama says his soon-to-be released budget, already criticized by friends and foes, is not his "ideal plan" but offers "tough reforms" for benefit programs ... Obama's plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 calls for slower growth in government benefits programs for the poor, veterans and the elderly, as well as higher taxes, primarily from the wealthy. Some details, made public Friday, drew a fierce response from liberals, labor unions and advocates for older Americans (Kuhnhenn, 4/6).

The Washington Post: Obama Budget Would Cut Entitlements In Exchange For Tax Increases
White House officials said Friday that Obama's budget would cut Medicare and Social Security and ask for less tax revenue than he has previously sought. The budget, to be released Wednesday, will fully incorporate the offer Obama made to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) during December's "fiscal cliff" talks -; which included $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and tax increases. On Friday, liberals expressed outrage that a freshly reelected president would concede so much (Goldfarb and Tumulty, 4/5).

Politico: Boehner Rejects Obama Cuts-Revenue Proposal
House Speaker John Boehner immediately dismissed President Barack Obama's package of significant new entitlement cuts tied to new tax revenues, calling them "no way to lead and move the country forward." ... The budget proposal sets Obama up for major fights on his right and left. Republicans will not accept any new tax revenues and liberal Democrats have already signaled they will resist any cuts to Social Security and other entitlement programs that Obama is proposing (Epstein and Robillard, 4/5). 

The New York Times: Obama Budget Is Dismissed by G.O.P. and Attacked by Left
"If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes," Mr. Boehner said in a statement. "That's no way to lead and move the country forward." At the same time, Mr. Obama's supporters on the left quickly vented their anger about his plans, saying they would not accept changes to Social Security and Medicare that would threaten the programs and harm beneficiaries (Shear, 4/5). 

Politico: For GOP, Obama Budget Too Little, Too Late
As word leaked of President Barack Obama's plan to include entitlement tweaks when he unveils his budget next week, Congressional Republicans on Friday said it won't bring Washington any closer to a grand bargain on the deficit. ... "It doesn't address the core structural problems: a dramatic growth in the number of beneficiaries congruent with a shrinking number of payees/taxpayers," [a senior congressional] aide said. "It is very unlikely to elicit dramatic movement on a grand bargain (Sherman, 4/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Budget Draws Fire
Still, some Republicans welcomed Mr. Obama's concessions on Social Security and other benefit programs, which he had previously offered in private budget talks. "I commend him for challenging his party on entitlements,'' said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). ... The Obama budget would cut $400 billion in spending on health programs over 10 years, including reduced payments to drug companies, among other things (Hook and Nelson, 4/5).

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