Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:08 PM
Omaha Steve (60,300 posts)
It's not just taxes: Benefit cuts divide Democrats
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By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER
WASHINGTON (AP) - It's not just about taxes. There's another big obstacle to overcome as Congress and President Barack Obama work to skirt the fiscal cliff: deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether to consider cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Much of the focus during negotiations seeking an alternative to $671 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts beginning in January has centered on whether Republicans would agree to raising taxes on the wealthy. Obama insists that tax increases on the wealthy must be part of any deal, even as White House officials concede that government benefit programs will have to be in the package too.
But even if GOP lawmakers agree to raise taxes, there is no guarantee Democrats can come up with enough votes in the Senate to cut benefit programs - as Republicans are demanding.
"We cannot come up with the solution for Medicare in the next two or three weeks," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. "It's too important, it's too serious, when it comes to this fiscal cliff debate."
FULL story at link.
Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20121128/DA2R60C80.html
In this July 6, 2011, file photo, President Barack Obama sits in front of a screen displaying a question he tweeted during a "Twitter Town Hall" in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Obama is introducing a new hashtag to the fiscal cliff debate. The White House plans to promote (hashtag)My2K on Twitter and other social media — a reference to the estimated $2,200 tax increase that a typical middle-class family of four would see if the Bush tax cuts expire. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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