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Congress: Meddling with Medicare

The Hill: “Republicans on Capitol Hill may be in the process of learning a hard lesson: Meddling with Medicare, whatever the nation’s fiscal circumstances, just isn’t popular.”

On that note, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it’s running automated phone calls attacking House Republicans for voting to overhaul the program for those under 55. An example of one of the calls in 20 congressional districts across the country:

“Hi, I’m calling from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calling about Congressman Lou Barletta’s vote to end Medicare. You’ve paid into Medicare for more than 25 years and deserve the Medicare benefits you’ve earned. Under the Barletta plan, Medicare ends and you’ll have to save about $182,000 more to pay for your health care. Where will you get $182,000? Everyone agrees we must cut spending and tighten our belt, but Barletta has made the wrong choice. Ending Medicare to pay for subsidies for Big Oil making huge profits or tax breaks for the ultra rich! That’s not right.”

John Harwood on the fight over raising the debt-ceiling: "'No one wants to vote to increase the debt limit,' said Donald Marron, a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush who now runs the Tax Policy Center. But neither does any leader in Congress dispute that 'the cap has to go up.' That history explains why financial markets have shrugged off the drama now building around the debt limit. When Mr. Boehner warned last week that 'there will be no debt-limit increase' without deep spending cuts, his audience at the New York Economic Club responded with polite applause and no apparent alarm. As politicians with governing responsibility, Mr. Obama, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Reid must amass legislative majorities for an increase by August to preclude government default, according to the Treasury Department. That effort also includes, Mr. Marron noted, 'jockeying to see who wins the right to vote "no."'"

“The United States has reached a ‘critical moment’ in its relationship with Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden, Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday before flying to Pakistan to address what he called ‘very disturbing’ evidence of the Pakistani government’s knowledge of insurgent sanctuaries,” the Washington Post reports, adding, “The Massachusetts Democrat is the most senior US official to travel to Pakistan since the raid on the Al Qaeda leader’s compound.”