Just as lawmakers prepared to depart for their August break, President Barack Obama sought to revive interest in a budget deal combining new tax revenue with cuts to health and retirement benefits. A group of Senate Republicans appeared interested, but there were no signs of engagement by the House GOP.
The Washington Post: Budget Truce Seems Out Of Reach As Congressional Recess Looms
Just this week, President Obama tried to revive interest in a grand bargain that would pair more tax revenue, long sought by Democrats, with cuts to federal health and retirement benefits long sought by Republicans. During a speech in Tennessee, the president also called for an end to the sequester and sought fresh funding for infrastructure and jobs. But Republican leaders have so far rejected Obama's overtures, arguing that ending the sequester — part of a deal to raise the federal debt limit in 2011 — would erode their sole victory in the fight to shrink the size of government (Montgomery, 8/1).
The Wall Street Journal: Senate Republicans Eye 'Grand Bargain' On Budget
A group of Republican senators who have been meeting privately with top White House officials have concluded that they want to try again to reach a sweeping budget deal that would cut deficits and make changes to Medicare, according to participants in the meetings. The Senate contingent met for more than two hours at the White House on Thursday and got an unexpected visitor. President Barack Obama joined the meeting in White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough's office and stayed for about an hour (Nicholas, 8/1).