One causality of healthcare reform negotiations might be cost control.
The US budget deficit is surging and is likely to remain high for years unless Congress finds solutions. Some financial experts say that remedies will have to include new taxes.
President Obama faces a tough challenge in his budget: cutting the federal deficit while pumping up the economy. His budget pays for $33 billion in business tax cuts and $25 billion of aid to states through a spending freeze and reinstated taxes on wealthy Americans.
A vote to raise the national debt ceiling is always tough, because it casts the majority party as a reckless spender. But Congress must confront the issue, probably Jan. 20, upon lawmakers' return from recess. If the ceiling is not raised, the government will likely run out of funds in February.
The House voted Thursday to continue the estate tax – an attempt to foil the Bush-era cuts that would have led to the expiration of the estate tax in 2010. But complications remain.
Lawmakers are looking for savings in Medicare. But Congress has shown little heart for that, especially given the powerful seniors lobby.
In a $3.5 trillion spending plan released Thursday, the White House proposes $17 billion in cuts – including some items that President Bush also tried to ax.
Even Democrats signal adjustments are likely, given rising projections for budgetary red ink.
This week is about the budget, as he issues his first, hosts a ‘fiscal responsibility summit.’
A government mired in debt combined with a recession will make the path to recovery difficult for the president-elect.