Budget deal sets up health care


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from philadelphia inquirer

posted on sat, apr. 25, 2009

budget deal sets up health care...

democrats' push to prevent a filibuster and win approval by obama's 100th day is riling gop.

by andrew taylor

associated press

washington - angling to award president obama a victory by his 100th day in office, democrats in congress have reached tentative agreement on a budget pact that would prevent republicans from blocking his ambitious plan to vastly expand government-subsidized health care.

but the blueprint emerging from talks on a compromise house-senate budget plan would allow obama's signature $400 tax cut for most workers to expire instead of renewing it, as he wants. and even after squeezing the defense and war budgets, the plan would lead to lasting deficits in the $500 billion range. senate majority leader harry reid (d., nev.) said yesterday that negotiators had resolved most of their differences on the budget measure, a nonbinding outline critical to helping advance obama's agenda through congress. once passed, the measure would set the rules on how congress considers obama's agenda for the rest of the year.

most important, the measure would allow obama's plan to overhaul the u.s. health-care system to pass the senate without the threat of a republican filibuster. that would limit the republicans' ability to get concessions and give democrats far more control over the specifics of the health-care legislation. those advantages come at a cost: fury among republicans who protest that overhauling the u.s. health-care system is far too big and important to advance under fast-track rules that allow for only a 20-hour debate in the senate....

the democratic plan promises to cut the deficit from levels as high as $1.8 trillion this year to about $500 billion by 2014, about 3 percent of the size of the economy. that's the level some economists say is sustainable without producing a crippling debt burden.

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