Obama To Call Meeting Aimed at Resolving Impasse on Budget Deal
On Tuesday, President Obama announced that he will convene a meeting with Senate and House leaders on Thursday in an effort to resolve the ongoing stalemate between Democrats and Republicans on new budget and deficit-reduction agreements, the New York Times reports.
Speaking at a White House news conference, Obama said Democrats are ready to discuss changes to popular entitlement programs like Medicare, which Republicans want, in return for the GOP's acceptance of new revenue-generating tax proposals favored by Democrats (Landler/Hulse, New York Times, 7/5).
In recent days, Democrats and Obama administration officials have been considering proposals that would cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, but the amount of the cuts is dependent on Republicans' willingness to accept the tax increases. Congressional negotiators have said that the proposed cuts in entitlement spending could target payments to some health care providers without affecting the quality of care or the structures of the two programs.
Last week, the Obama administration set a July 22 deadline for lawmakers to reach an agreement on budget and deficit-limit legislation that would facilitate an increase to the federal government's current borrowing cap of $14.3 trillion. Lawmakers have until Aug. 2 to raise the federal debt ceiling (California Healthline, 7/5).
Plans for Thursday's Meeting
At Tuesday's news conference, Obama attempted to strike a confident tone ahead of Thursday's meeting, saying that lawmakers have "a unique opportunity to do something big" to improve the nation's finances, but it will "require tough decisions" (Memoli, Los Angeles Times, 7/5).
The president noted that he opposes recent suggestions by some lawmakers for a short-term debt-limit bill, which he said would serve only to "kick the can down the road" in resolving "the larger problem of our deficit" (Montgomery, Washington Post, 7/5). Obama also implored Democrats and Republicans to leave their "comfort zones" and "political rhetoric at the door" to reach a "real compromise."
Meanwhile, the White House on Tuesday announced that a previously undisclosed meeting had taken place over the Fourth of July weekend between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), signaling that negotiations to reach budget and deficit-reduction agreements have entered a critical phase, according to the Times (New York Times, 7/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.