Saturday, March 26, 2011

Health care, global warming impede budget deal

From Andy Sullivan of Reuters on March 25:
Healthcare, global warming, birth control and other hot-button political issues are threatening to derail a compromise over U.S. spending cuts, lawmakers and aides said on Friday.

The dispute again raises the possibility of a government shutdown that would force thousands of layoffs and rattle financial markets, even as Republican and Democratic negotiators began to bridge a $50 billion gap between their rival spending plans.

Aides said the closed-door talks were initially productive. But leaders from both parties later issued sharply worded statements that any shutdown would be the fault of the other.

"The status quo is unacceptable, and right now that is all Washington Democrats are offering," said House Speaker John Boehner.

"The House Republican leadership is back to agonizing over whether to give in to right-wing demands that they abandon any compromise on their extreme cuts," Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said.

The White House budget office said the House plan raised "extreme social policy issues that have nothing at all to do with reducing spending or reducing the deficit" while cutting research and education spending needed for economic growth.

"The President said he would veto the bill if it got to him in this form, and we need to work together to find a reasonable compromise," said Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget.


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