Chicago Tribune Examines Politics of House Budget Reconciliation Bill
The Chicago Tribune on Thursday examined how the House budget reconciliation bill, which is scheduled for a floor vote on Thursday, would make cuts to several programs for the poor, including Medicaid, and the political implications of doing so (Neikirk, Chicago Tribune, 11/10).
The bill would reduce Medicaid spending by about $9.5 billion over five years, and would reduce overall federal spending by $54 billion over five years. The House Budget Committee on Nov. 3 approved the package, which earlier was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee (California Healthline, 11/4). Proposed changes to Medicaid include allowing states to increase beneficiaries' cost-sharing and tighten regulations on asset transfers.
"After slashing taxes and establishing a new Medicare prescription drug program," Republicans now face "a fundamental political dilemma," the Tribune reports. They "don't want to be branded as irresponsible spenders, but they don't want to be branded as heartless budget cutters either," according to the Tribune.
Meanwhile, "Democrats are having a field day" with their criticism of the reconciliation bill, the Tribune reports.
Stephen Wayne, a political science professor at Georgetown University, said criticism from Democrats "resonates a little bit," adding, "What it does is reinforce the stereotype, which the Democrats use against the Republicans -- a mean-spirited party of the rich."
Whit Ayres, a Republican political consultant, said, "Everybody wants to cut in general but few want to cut in particular" (Chicago Tribune, 11/10).