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Obama agenda: Opting out

“President Obama sought to defuse criticism of the new health-care overhaul Monday by saying he is willing to give states an earlier opportunity to opt out of certain key requirements - but only if they can find their own ways to accomplish the law's goals,” the Washington Post says.

The New York Times: “The announcement is the first time Mr. Obama has called for altering a central component of his signature health care law, although he has backed removing a specific tax provision that both parties regard as onerous on business. But the prospects for the proposal appear dim. Congress would have to approve the change through legislation, and House Republican leaders said Monday that they were committed to repealing the law, not amending it. Even if the change were approved, it could be difficult for states to meet the federal requirements for the waivers.”

The Boston Globe said the offer was Obama “displaying his willingness to compromise on one of the most controversial aspects of the overhaul.”

On spending cuts, AP writes, “Siding with congressional Republicans, the White House voiced general approval yesterday for a short-term bill that makes immediate cuts in federal spending while preventing a threatened government shutdown. ‘We’re pleased that there seems to be some progress and we think we’re moving in the right direction,’ press secretary Jay Carney said of a bill that Republicans intend to pass in the House today.”

Politico: “Showing the first signs of coming off the sideline, the White House made a late bid Monday to extend the life of a stopgap government funding bill to a full month and thereby allow more time for the administration to become engaged in the House-Senate talks. The House is slated to vote Tuesday on a two week extension of the current continuing resolution due to expire this Friday, Mar. 4. The administration would instead like that to run a full 30 days, and this triggered a meeting Monday evening between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the senator’s offices.”