After a series of meetings over the last few weeks, the Biden group has brought negotiations on a debt ceiling agreement as far as they were able to and this week is expected to be marked by the possible commencement of leadership level negotiations led by the President. Following the withdrawal of Representative Eric Cantor (VA) and Senator John Kyl (AZ) from the Biden talks late last week, President Obama announced he would hold separate meetings with Senate Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) this Monday to continue the dialogue about how to move to consensus on the debt-ceiling. This brings negotiations to the highest level of leadership, with a goal of moving toward a resolution that both chambers and both parties can sell to their members. The challenge remains: a deal that includes tax increases may not pass the GOP-led House while a cuts-only solution will be a tough sell in the Democrat-led Senate. Although the political calculus is complex and both chambers have staggered recesses through the next couple of weeks, the President and Leadership will be working hard to find a middle ground before Treasury’s projected August 2nd default deadline.
No matter how and when they get there, though, the word continues to be that some cuts to the Medicaid program are being considered. The President has already proposed saving $100 billion in Medicaid. This makes right now a critically important time to be educated and weighing in with your Member of Congress. The specifics of any deal under discussion will change, possibly many times, before an agreement is public – but the one thing that remains constant is that Health Centers and Medicaid work. These two programs, working together, save the federal and state governments money and improve the health of communities across the country, and this is the time to make sure that message is heard at town halls, public forums, in newspapers and in community gatherings. To learn more as news breaks and to understand how to be the most effective health center advocate, join the Campaign for America’s Health Centers today and stay tuned to the blog for updates as the deficit negotiations progress.