Medicare the Next Federal Budget Battleground

Navy Fighter Jet Crashes in Nevada

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration and congressional Republicans are quietly working in tandem to blunt the impact of short-term spending cuts that kicked in with dire White House warnings last week, with both sides eager to pocket the full savings for deficit reduction as they pivot to a new clash over Medicare.

The overall size of the cuts remains in place: $85 billion in reductions through Sept. 30 – half from defense and half from domestic programs as diverse as education, parks and payments to doctors and hospitals treating Medicare patients.

But legislation drafted by House Republicans to prevent a government shutdown on March 27 also gives the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department flexibility to allocate cuts that no agency currently has. A vote on the measure was arranged for Wednesday.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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