This Week Marked By Flurry Of Congressional Budget Activity

House Republicans and Senate Democrats will release their budgets this week as President Barack Obama continues to work to find areas of fiscal compromise.

The New York Times: House And Senate Work Simultaneously To Create Budgets, A Rarity
But the fact that both houses of Congress are working on their budgets simultaneously after years of impasse raised some measure of hope — albeit slight — that Democrats and Republicans might be able to work out some sort of compromise. Compromise between the two parties, however, is only half of a more complicated bargain. Democrats also have to bridge the divide among a politically diverse group of Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee (Peters, 3/11).

USA Today: Obama, Hill Leaders Knuckle Down On Budget Talks
President Obama and a divided Congress kick off a week of jockeying over the federal budget as House Republicans and Senate Democrats unveil competing fiscal blueprints and the president heads to Capitol Hill to continue his personal campaign for compromise. The president spent part of Monday prepping for three trips to Capitol Hill over the next three days for closed-door meetings with House and Senate lawmakers in both parties. Obama is seeking an alternative to the sequestration, a $1.2 trillion, across-the-board spending cut over the next decade that kicked in March 1 after Congress failed to find a better alternative to cut spending (Davis and Jackson, 3/12).

The New York Times: Obama's GOP Outreach Hits Barriers
What spurred Mr. Obama to reach out to rank-and-file Republicans with a flurry of phone calls, meals and now Capitol visits were the recent announcements by their leaders — Speaker John A. Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — that they will no longer negotiate with Mr. Obama on budget policy as long as he keeps demanding more tax revenues as the condition for Democrats' support of reduced spending on Medicare and other entitlement programs. Both leaders face political risks from deal-making with the president — Mr. Boehner the potential loss of his leadership job; Mr. McConnell the danger of a Tea Party challenge as he faces re-election next year (Calmes, 3/11).

CNN Money: How Obama Plans To Save Medicare
The White House often says President Obama has a plan for reforming entitlements, particularly Medicare. However, the specifics of that proposal don't spring to mind as easily as the reforms being bandied about in Republican circles, such as providing seniors with vouchers to pay for premiums or raising the retirement age. That's partly because Obama last laid out his reforms in February 2012 as part of his budget proposal. The president did little more than touch on these plans on the campaign trail last year and again in last month's State of the Union address (Luhby, 3/11).

The Senate Democrats' budget is expected to be released Wednesday -

The Washington Post: Senate Democrats Prepare To Roll Out Budget Blueprint
Murray plans to unveil her budget proposal on Wednesday, marking the first time Senate Democrats have drafted a budget since 2009. Aides said Murray will not offer explicit policies for raising new revenue or trimming expensive health programs, but will instead leave those details to other committees, including the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee. The president's budget request, meanwhile, is expected in early April — more than two months late (Montgomery, 3/11).

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