Budget Plans Underscore Deep Divide On Capitol Hill

News outlets compare and contrast how the two budget blueprints released this week -- one by House Republicans, the other by Senate Democrats -- treat Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.

Los Angeles Times: Stark Choice In Dueling Budget Plans
Under the 10-year budget plan released by House Republicans this week, tax rates would fall for high-income Americans and corporations, defense spending would be bolstered, and more than 30 million uninsured people would lose access to government-backed healthcare. Food stamps, student loans and free school lunches for children would be cut. The Senate Democrats' plan, released Wednesday, would increase taxes on the wealthy and some corporations, cut the Pentagon budget and add $100 billion in highway and school construction spending. Their plan would make modest reductions in healthcare and other domestic programs (Mascaro, 3/13).

USA Today: Senate Democrats Release First Budget In Four Years
The budget — the first one Senate Democrats have produced since 2009 — stands in sharp contrast to the House Republicans' plan released Tuesday that calls for cuts in corporate and individual taxes and aims to balance the budget in 10 years, fundamentally overhaul Medicare and eliminate President Obama's health care law (Davis, 3/13).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Democratic-Led Senate Panel To Approve Budget To Raise Taxes, Spare Benefit Programs From Cuts
Acting on the Senate's first budget since President Barack Obama took office, a Democratic-led panel is moving toward party-line approval of a fiscal blueprint that would trim the budget deficit while protecting safety net programs from slashing cuts proposed by Republicans. The expected vote Thursday in the Senate Budget Committee comes as Obama heads to the Capitol for a third consecutive day, carrying his charm offensive with Congress to Senate Republicans and his Democratic allies in the House (3/13).

Politico: Patty Murray Plan Doesn't Balance Budget
In the committee, the 12 Democrats appeared united when they delivered their opening statements Wednesday. Assuming Murray succeeds in keeping her caucus largely in line and ushering the measure through the Senate, she will have an enormously challenging task of reconciling the plan with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's approach, who proposes no tax increases and calls for a dramatic overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as a repeal of the president's health care law (Raju and Gibson, 3/13).

The Washington Post: Democrats Challenge Obama On Medicare And Social Security Cuts
On one side of the Capitol, President Obama sought to convince House Republicans on Wednesday that he is serious about reining in the rising cost of federal health and retirement programs. But on the other side of the Capitol, Senate Democrats rolled out a 10-year spending plan that sent a different message: Not so fast (Montgomery, 3/13).

Modern Healthcare: Senate Dems Propose $275B In Healthcare Cuts
The first Senate Democratic budget proposal in four years would cut federal healthcare spending by $275 billion over 10 years. The spending blueprint offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Budget Committee, would reduce—but not eliminate—annual deficits through an even combination of tax increases and spending cuts. The healthcare cuts—for which few details were provided—were part of $975 billion in overall cuts the budget would implement over the coming decade. Murray's budget specified only that it would derive the savings through accelerating provisions that tie provider reimbursements to patient outcomes, reducing waste and fraud, and encouraging greater provider "engagement" (Daly, 3/13).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Democrats, Republicans Clash Over Health Care Savings (Audio)
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about the competing budget proposals offered by leaders from each chamber of Congress this week that seek savings in health spending. They discuss what's next for the proposals and what President Obama might offer (3/13).

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