Lawmakers Deadlocked Over Spending Bill

With a government shutdown looming, lawmakers are still at odds regarding a plan to provide current-year funding for the federal government. The House-passed measure includes deep cuts to a multitude of programs and blocks funding for the health law. In the Senate, Democrats maintain that they will not agree to such legislative riders. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is optimistic about deficit reduction plans in the longer term.

Bloomberg: U.S. Government Shutdown Looms As Lawmakers Deadlock Over Budget Proposal
The legislation passed by the House last week would cut hundreds of programs. It includes scores of provisions blocking funding for the administration's health care overhaul, as well as regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, for-profit colleges and the Federal Communications Commission's "net neutrality" Internet rules. Democrats have balked at the House's proposed cuts, saying they would hurt the economy. Earlier this week, Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the Senate also will not agree to the House's legislative riders, saying the bill is to "deal with funding for our government, not all these other goodies they think are cute" (Faler, 2/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Geithner Hopeful For Bipartisan Deficit Plan
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday said the Obama administration was hoping for a bipartisan deal to reduce budget deficits over the next five years or so, but stopped short of predicting an agreement could be reached this year. Staking out a position at odds with Republicans, Mr. Geithner said reducing the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product need not include restraints on benefit programs, known as entitlements. "It's not fundamentally driven by Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security," he said at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News (Wessel, 2/24).

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