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Congress: Dems hail CBO report

Per the Washington Post, "As the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation's health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average family's coverage would rise by thousands of dollars if the proposal became law… Democrats, who had been nervously awaiting the CBO's pronouncement on premiums, hailed the report as a political vindication that should help reassure wavering moderates in both parties."

"But Republican senators like Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, said the report validated their concerns," the New York Times adds. "They focused on the prediction that unsubsidized premiums in the individual insurance market, less than a fifth of those with health insurance, would rise an average of 10 percent to 13 percent."

The return of reconciliation? "Talk about using budget reconciliation to pass healthcare reform in the Senate has faded from public view, but Democratic leaders continue to hang the threat over centrists in private," The Hill writes.

A Gas-tax hike coming? "A federal gas tax hike is likely to appear on lawmakers' radars again this year as they search for new ways to fund the country's transportation programs, the department's secretary suggested on Monday, The Hill reports. "During a summit in Fort Worth, Texas, Transportation chief Ray LaHood predicted the federal government's gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon would not be enough to offset the nearly $500-million gap between how much revenue is available and how much money the department hopes to receive next year."