AirTalk for May 6, 2011

Bipartisan budget talks sidestep Medicare and taxes

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US Vice President Joe Biden (2nd R) speaks during a meeting of bipartisan members of Congress to begin work on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction at Blair House, across the street from the White House in Washington, DC, on May 5, 2011. US Representative Eric Cantor listens.

Vice President Joe Biden and top congressional budget negotiators met Thursday, hoping to bridge the wide partisan divide over taxes and spending. Seeking to reduce a $1.4 trillion budget deficit, Democrats and Republicans agreed to focus first on areas of potential compromise, side-stepping raising taxes and the divisive proposal to revamp Medicare. President Obama has said he hopes the talks will lead to an agreement by June, before the federal government hits its debt ceiling. But finding common ground on a deficit reduction strategy will be a struggle. Democrats have criticized House Republicans for passing a fiscal year 2012 budget that Dems claim would weaken Medicare. The GOP meanwhile has blasted President Obama’s fiscal blueprint for not cutting enough. If Medicare and taxes are off the table – what should we cut? Why have Republicans backed off calls to overhaul Medicare? Should lawmakers raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling?


Gail Russell Chaddock, Congressional Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor

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