March 18 is the deadline for work to be completed on spending for the current year, otherwise a government shutdown will take place. A Bloomberg poll found many Americans would oppose a shutdown, but also oppose deep cuts in programs such as Medicare and medical research. All the while, politics related to funding for the health law and Planned Parenthood are still heating up.
The Washington Post: Senate Still Wrangling Over Spending Bill
With a March 18 deadline looming, the White House and Senate Democrats have offered a plan to cut less than $5 billion from domestic agencies through the remainder of the fiscal year, a proposal that even some moderate Democrats have criticized as insufficient in light of record budget deficits (Kane and Sonmez, 3/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Democrats Raise Stakes On Budget
The change in Democratic strategy could mark a major shift in focus in the budget battles. Debate so far has focused on discretionary programs controlled by annual appropriations, a narrow sliver of federal spending. Most of the rest of the budget is mandatory spending for entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security (Hook, 3/9).
Bloomberg News/The Washington Post: Government Shutdown Opposed By Americans In Poll Faulting Cuts
Americans are sending a message to congressional Republicans: Don't shut down the federal government or slash spending on popular programs. Almost 8 in 10 people say Republicans and Democrats should reach a compromise on a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit to keep the government running, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. At the same time, lopsided margins oppose cuts to Medicare, education, environmental protection, medical research and community-renewal programs (Hirschfeld Davis and Przybyla, 3/9).
The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Michele Bachmann's 'Bombshell' On A 'Hidden' $105 Billion
You have to give Rep. Michele Bachmann credit. The Minnesota Republican certainly knows how to command attention — and how to liven up a dreary discussion of the federal budget on the Sunday morning talk shows by holding up a sign that declares: "$105,464,000,000." Even in Washington, $105 billion is real money. But her assertion raises questions. Is it possible for a major piece of legislation, carefully analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office before final passage, to "secretly" contain so much spending? (Kessler, 3/9).
Politico: Planned Parenthood Quandary
Republican leadership and commentators are cooling to social conservatives' mounting cries to make defunding Planned Parenthood a non-negotiable item in budget talks, challenging the provision as both bad politics and bad policy (Kliff, 3/9).