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Today’s Headlines – Nov. 4, 2011

Happy Friday! Autumn is taking over, but the super committee continues to rule the news. Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about the super committee’s apparent impasse, and details on Mitt Romney’s plan to cut the deficit.

The Washington Post: Debt- Reduction Supercommittee Talks Appear To Be At An Impasse
Washington’s latest exercise in debt reduction appeared to be at an impasse Thursday, as members of a special congressional committee barreled toward a Thanksgiving deadline with no movement on the fundamental question of whether to raise taxes. … As GOP supercommittee members huddled Thursday afternoon with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), GOP aides and lawmakers close to the process said they were still trying to horsetrade with Democrats over revenue increases and cuts to entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid (Montgomery, 11/3).

For more headlines …

The New York Times: GOP Senators’ Letter Clouds Talks On Deficit
As a powerful Congressional committee searched desperately for ways to reduce the federal budget deficit, conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats hardened their positions on Thursday by drawing lines that will make it more difficult for the panel to find consensus. A group of 33 Republican senators sent a letter to members of the panel insisting on “no net tax increase” (Pear, 11/3).

Los Angeles Times: GOP Senators Warn Super Committee On Taxes
The message was taken as a blow to efforts to put both tax hikes and spending cuts on the table as the super committee struggles to meet its Thanksgiving deadline. Republicans have been steadfast in their refusal to raise taxes, and Democrats are only willing to engage in cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs if new revenues are part of the mix (Mascaro, 11/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Boehner Presses For Deficit Deal
House Speaker John Boehner gave new urgency to the drive for a deficit-cutting deal by saying he would press lawmakers to approve any agreement a congressional supercommittee makes, no matter what it contains (Bendavid and Hook, 11/4).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Boehner: Agreeing To New Revenues Would Depend On Major Changes In Federal Benefit Programs
House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that “there’s room for revenue” as a congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee seeks $1.2 trillion or more in deficit cuts over the coming decade. But he says it would require a major overhaul of government benefit programs. “Without real reform on the entitlement side, I’m not even going to put any new revenue on the table,” Boehner said. Entitlement programs include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (11/3).

The New York Times: Interest Groups Try To Catch Debt Committee’s Ear
Health care providers, worried about Medicaid cuts and other programs, have taken out big ads around Washington to make their case. Lobbyists for defense contractors have been meeting with Congressional staff members to warn of the threat to national security if weapons programs are slashed. Some farmers are anxious to avoid cuts in crop subsidies. And cities and counties warn of rising crime rates if federal financing for police, fire services and the like are curtailed (Lichtblau, 11/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fact Check: Obamacare Myths Persist In GOP Race, Among Them The Notion It Can Meet Quick Death
To hear some Republican presidential candidates tell it, the president’s pen is a magic wand that can make “Obamacare” vanish in one day and sweep in cheaper health care, economic growth and lots of jobs in businesses freed from the health care law’s heavy hand. But there is no such fairy dust in Washington (11/4).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Romney’s Plan To Cut The Deficit
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday released more details on his plan to reduce government spending and tackle the federal debt ahead of a Washington speech on fiscal policy on Friday. At the top of his to-do list: Repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, “which would save $95 billion in 2016,” he wrote in a piece for USA Today. But that is only part of the story. Romney aides, pointing to a Congressional Budget Office score of a House-passed health care repeal bill, said the $95 billion figure referred to how much federal spending would be cut through repeal, not how much the repeal would reduce the deficit (Weisman, 11/3).

The Washington Post: Romney Lays Out Fiscal Policy In N.H., While Perry And Others Campaign Across Ohio
Here in New Hampshire, where Romney enjoys a big lead in the polls, he presented his prescription for the country’s growing debt. He said he would cut federal spending by about $500 billion during his first term by eliminating programs and services he doesn’t like (he cited President Obama’s health-care overhaul) and those he does like but doesn’t think the country can afford (he cited Amtrak). Romney also pledged to turn responsibility for costly entitlement programs like Medicaid over to state governments, to “let states draft programs in a way they think best to care for their own poor” (Rucker and Bacon, 11/3).

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