Deal To Avert Gov't Shutdown Appears Within Reach

The short-term spending plan that emerged from the House Appropriations Committee includes millions of dollars in cuts to federal health programs. Meanwhile, congressional efforts to reach agreement on a long-term spending plan may be getting more complicated.

The Wall Street Journal: Deal On Spending Cuts Would Defer Tougher Decisions
Republicans and Democrats appear increasingly likely to reach a deal that would avoid a government shutdown Friday, but in doing so they are deferring and possibly deepening the challenge of reaching a longer-term spending agreement (Bendavid, 2/28).

Modern Healthcare: Short-Term Spending Bill Includes Health Care Cuts
The House Appropriations Committee on Friday introduced a short-term spending bill that includes millions in cuts to federal health care programs while the House, Senate and White House try to reach agreement on a longer-term funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year. ... The bill would terminate eight government programs, none of which fall under HHS. But it would seek to cut funding for certain HHS programs and agencies, including $397 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration; $21 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; $15 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; $3 million for program management at the CMS; and $2 million from departmental management in the HHS secretary's office (Zigmond, 2/25).

Bloomberg: U.S. Governors Say Federal Shutdown, Budget Cuts May Weigh Down States
The budget cuts pushed through by states have been a drag on the economy as governors make up for revenue lost during the past two years. State and local government spending dropped at an annual rate of 2.4 percent during the last three months of 2010, the Commerce Department reported yesterday, marking the sixth quarterly drop since the last three months of 2008. The governors said the clash between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over how to pare the record U.S. budget deficit might aggravate their problems. The federal government could be shut down next week should an agreement not be reached. Democratic Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said a shutdown would choke off money for health care, education and workforce development programs (Selway and Niquette, 2/27).

Politico: Budget-Cutters Wary Of Entitlements
It's become a familiar refrain among Republicans in Washington, echoed on talk radio and in some right-wing blogs — that the people are ahead of the politicians on entitlement reform, ready to face the tough realities about Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare (Cogan, 2/28).

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