Pace Picks Up In Budget Talks But 'Big Ticket Items' Still In Play

The key stumbling blocks in the ongoing negotiations being led by Vice President Joe Biden are Medicare changes and fresh revenue demands.

The Washington Post: White House, Lawmakers Speed Up Debt-Reduction Talks
With an Aug. 2 deadline nearing, along with the threat of turmoil in global financial markets if Congress doesn't act, Vice President Biden is stepping up talks this week with six lawmakers from both parties in hopes of presenting a plan to President Obama and congressional leaders by July 4. So far, negotiators have identified many areas of consensus: Farmers are certain to lose some federal subsidies, for example. And federal workers will have to contribute more to finance their retirement. But what Biden called "the philosophically big-ticket items" remain: the Republican demand for significant savings from Medicare, the biggest driver of future deficits, and the Democratic demand for fresh revenue (Montgomery, 6/20).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Democrats, Republicans Stake Out Positions In Budget Talks
In this Kaiser Health News feature, PBS Newshour's David Chalian talks with Jackie Judd about the latest developments in the budget negotiations being led by Vice President Joe Biden and the role of Medicaid and Medicare in those talks (6/20). Watch the video or read the transcript.

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: AARP's Misleading Ad About Balancing The Budget
With talks on reaching a deal to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling reaching a critical stage, the venerable over-50 organization AARP has weighed in with a television advertisement that seeks to shift the focus from entitlement programs such as Medicare onto what it deems to be wasteful spending by Congress. We had earlier given the American public four Pinocchios for failing to understand the basics of the federal budget. We reached that conclusion after a new poll showed 63 percent of those surveyed believe the federal government spends more on defense and foreign aid than it does on Medicare and Social Security. (That's wrong.) … Given those beliefs, it seems that the AARP pitch would have a receptive audience. But is it right? (Kessler, 6/20).

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