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Obama has proposed raising the cost of Medicare for better-off seniors, a $50 billion item over a decade. He has also backed higher fees under TRICARE, which provides health care for nearly 10 million active-duty and retired military personnel, retirees, reservists and their families, as well as increases in the cost of retirement benefits for federal workers.
After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the 2013 federal budget shortfall is expected to register below $700 billion, but Republicans say more cuts are essential. At the same time, the nation’s debt is rising inexorably — the reason for the effort to raise borrowing limit to cover it. The debt was $10.6 trillion when Obama took office during the worst recession in decades, and has grown by $6.1 trillion in the years since.
The House Republicans’ plan was outlined in the Thursday night White House meeting that included senior aides to Obama as well as to House Speaker John Boehner and Cantor, several hours after Obama met with top Republicans.
The discussions unfolded as the House voted 248-176 to resume funding for nuclear arms research and security despite the broader shutdown. It was the latest GOP bill aimed at reviving popular programs — and the latest to face swift demise in the Senate, where Reid has rejected nearly all bills that fall short of fully reopening the government.
Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Jim Kuhnhenn, Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
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