With budget issues -- including changes to Medicare and Medicaid -- still very much in play, President Barack Obama is planning another outing with Republican lawmakers in an effort to build relationships and smooth the path for possible negotiations this summer.
Los Angeles Times: One Date Is Not Enough: Obama To Dine Again With GOP Senators
This summer, Congress will be asked to raise the U.S. debt limit to avoid defaulting on obligations. Republicans will press the White House for budget cuts in exchange, and will likely target the Medicare and Medicaid health programs, which are driving much of the red ink. Democrats will insist on raising tax revenue to help plug the budget gaps. The debate is likely to be difficult, and one that could easily fall into the cycle of brinkmanship that has complicated past budget battles between Congress and the White House. The dinner dates may help set the tone, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has said, but will not resolve the differences (Mascaro and Hennessey, 3/27).
In other Capitol Hill news -
The Fiscal Times: Health Care Reform Tax Battle: Medical Devices
The Senate vote last week seeking to eliminate a new tax on medical devices was prompted by a strong and well-financed lobbying effort by health care industry manufacturers. However, it will take a lot more than a largely symbolic vote on an amendment to the 2014 budget resolution to knock out the 2.3 percent sale tax – one of many new taxes imposed by President Obama's health care reform law (Pianin, 3/27).