Budget Battle Frames Election Campaigns

The budget debate focuses on competing priorities -- spending on defense versus the health law or making chocies between tax cuts for business or safety net programs. Also in the news, spending bills continue to percolate in Congress.   

Politico: House GOP Pits Defense Vs. Health Law
Guns or bandages. That's the choice House Republicans are framing for the White House in the early phases of a battle over budget cuts that will hammer the Pentagon later this year if Congress and President Barack Obama don't slash other programs. GOP lawmakers are moving to eliminate so-called slush funds in Obama's health care law, save $44 billion by cracking down on overpayments to people who are insured through its new health exchanges and wring out tens of billions of dollars more by limiting medical malpractice awards and overhauling Medicaid (Haberkorn and Allen, 4/19).

Los Angeles Times: House Passes 20% Tax Cut For Businesses
Despite a veto threat from President Obama, the Republican-led House approved a 20% election-year tax cut for most companies intended to entice them to pick up the pace of hiring and, thus, boost the economy. Democrats, though, said the 20% tax-cut measure comes as Republicans work to revamp Medicare and slash domestic programs, including the Meals on Wheels program for seniors (Mascaro and Lee, 4/19).

Modern Healthcare: Spending Measure Includes Provision To Aid Rural Hospitals
Nearly nine months after many rural hospitals lost access to a program that provides federal backing to lower the cost of hospital construction and renovation loans, a provision to reinstate that fiscal backstop advanced in the Senate. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) added a provision to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill to renew an exemption for critical-access hospitals that allowed more of them to qualify for the Federal Housing Authority's Section 242 mortgage-insurance program (Daly, 4/19).

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