Though the Obama administration and congressional Republicans are working to minimize the pinch of the sequester's short-term spending cuts, both sides are preparing for another Medicare battle.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: White House And Republicans Work To Ease Impact Of Spending Cuts; Fight Over Medicare Looms
The Obama administration and congressional Republicans are quietly working in tandem to blunt the impact of short-term spending cuts that kicked in with dire White House warnings a few days ago, with both sides eager to pocket the full savings for deficit reduction as they pivot to a new clash over Medicare. The overall size of the cuts remains in place: $85 billion in reductions through the end of the budget year on Sept. 30, half from defense and half from domestic programs as diverse as education, parks and payments to doctors and hospitals treating Medicare patients (3/6).
The New York Times: Trying To Revive Talks, Obama Goes Around GOP Leaders
Yet such expressions of hope are increasingly scarce in Washington. While Mr. Graham said he and Mr. Obama agreed that a comprehensive deal could be reached to both slow the growth of the entitlement programs like Medicare and raise revenues by curbing costly tax breaks, that optimism is not the prevailing sentiment. Proponents in both parties have all but given up on a grand bargain in view of the chasm between Mr. Obama, who insists that revenues be part of the equation, and Republican leaders, who are just as adamant against raising taxes further (Calmes and Weisman, 3/5).
The Washington Post: Seeking A Budget Deal, Obama Reaches Out To Republican Rank And File
In a flurry of meetings and phone calls over the past few days, Obama has courted more than half a dozen Republicans in the Senate, telling them that he is ready to overhaul expensive health and retirement programs if they agree to raise taxes to tame the national debt. Graham has repeatedly said he could support the White House's goal of raising $600 billion in new revenue over the next decade in exchange for reforms to health and retirement programs. Now, he said, "what I see from the president is probably the most encouraging engagement on a big issue I’ve seen since the early years of his presidency." Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she, too, welcomed Obama's call (Montgomery and Helderman, 3/5).