In what one news outlet described as a "charm offensive," President Barack Obama is seeking common ground with rank-and-file Republicans for a deficit reduction deal that would overhaul the tax code and slow the growth of Medicare and other entitlement programs.
The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Warm To Obama's Efforts
Both Republicans and administration officials described the discussions as productive and even pleasant. But while the lawmakers' mood may be improving, fundamental disagreements over taxes and spending persist, and lawmakers in both parties acknowledged that any significant deal would be months away at best. … Both the president and some GOP members have indicated a willingness to discuss a deficit-reduction approach that would involve overhauling the tax code and slowing the growth of spending on entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. But, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) noted, "The details may trip us up" (Nelson and Paletta, 3/7).
Los Angeles Times: Obama Charm Offensive Sows Goodwill
White House officials say the president is trying to find congressional allies to chart a new path on deficit reduction. Both parties have an interest in trying to strike a big deal, preferably before the next budget showdown in summer, when Obama must ask Congress to raise the legal limit on the national debt (Hennessey and Mascaro, 3/7).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: New Idea On Tweaking Medicare Eligibility
Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65 is a third-rail for many Democrats, who argue that it could leave some seniors without access to insurance. It's also difficult to do without disrupting the implementation of the federal health-care law, as we noted in this story, which makes it a tough proposition for the White House to swallow (Radnofsky, 3/7).