The Senate took some time off from debating the direction that next year’s budget should take to unite in a rare show of bipartisanship to hack off a much un-loved part of the famously controversial Obamacare bill.
Parties Agree to Disagree
Republicans declared that Tuesday’s revocation of significant elements of the health care bill is just “a down payment on total repeal.” The Democrats disagreed saying that their desire to repeal the difficult tax paperwork obligation on businesses which was part of the health care bill was only to improve the overall law and not to harm it.The bill, which was previously passed through the House, was overwhelmingly passed through the Senate, and is now on its way to President Obama’s desk for its final approval.
Budget Woes Wont Go Away
The main show in town, however, is the heated debate in Congress on what to do about the government’s overwhelming yearly trillion-dollar deficits and staggering debt. The discussion is growing in its intensity as the April 8 deadline quickly approaches, signaling the end of stopgap funding which has been in place since last year’s budget ended on September 30th, 2010.Clashes are igniting over what to do about both long and short-term spending as the lawmakers prepare for a government shut-down by the end of the week.“Just as the executive branch is doing, we’re also preparing for the possibility of a shutdown,” warned Eric Cantor, Republican representative from Virginia and House Majority Leader, addressing the press after a failed meeting between leading Democrats and Republicans to produce a compromise breakthrough.Even with the budget still undecided new problems were explored as the Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan disclosed his budget plan for 2012. Ryan is calling for serious changes to Medicare and Medicaid in his effort to reduce the negative effects these high-spending programs will have on the deficit, especially as they are now projected to drive-up spending significantly in the future.Republicans want to see deep cuts in government spending while Democrats have been slowly coming closer to the Republican position, albeit not to the same extent, believing that too many deep cuts will hurt the workings of many services Americans have grown to depend on.
Frustrated President Hoping for Closure
President Obama even got involved in the budget negotiations on Tuesday by hosting the White House meeting between the parties, but he also said he should not have to play referee for them.“I shouldn’t have to oversee a process in which Congress deals with last year’s budget where we only have six months left — especially when both parties have agreed that we need to make substantial cuts and we’re more or less at the same number,” declared a frustrated president during an unexpected visit to the White House briefing room.Congress has brought the government to the cusp of shutting down because they were not able to pass a budget or even one of the dozen or so spending bills by the beginning of the fiscal year 2011, which fell on October 1, 2010.