Democrats defend safety net, propose modest adjustments

Meanwhile, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., portrays spending cuts to those programs as a path to growth.

The New York Times' Political Memo: Obama Focuses On Status Quo, Not Left, In Battle With GOP
That partisan gibe was telling. He defended two programs, Medicare and Medicaid, begun nearly a half-century ago, and a third, Social Security, that dates from the Great Depression. The federal welfare commitments that Mr. Obama praised in observing that "a great nation must care for the vulnerable" also date back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's time. Yet all those benefits are in the cross-fire of the president's continuing fiscal battle with Republicans in Congress. That is not because of a shift in philosophy by Mr. Obama or his party, but rather because of the looming cost of the retirements of baby boomers and of the persistent ideological boldness of partisan foes (Harwood, 1/27).

Politico: The Quiet Liberal Plans For Entitlement Reform
Ask liberals about GOP demands to rein in Social Security and Medicare spending, and many say this: no way. But the truth is, there are a number of ideas to do just that already sitting on the shelves of influential liberal think tanks around Washington (Nather, 1/27).

Roll Call: Ryan Defends GOP Views On Spending Cuts
"I think the sequester is going to happen," [Rep. Paul] Ryan said of the roughly $85 billion in fiscal 2013 spending cuts scheduled to occur in March throughout government operations, especially those linked to the Defense Department. "We think these sequesters will happen because the Democrats have rejected our efforts to replace those cuts with others and have offered no alternatives" (Dumain, 1/27).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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