Joe Biden ‘confident’ of more than $1T in deficit cuts Staff
Posted: Jun 15, 2011 2:33 PM
Joe Biden ‘confident’ of more than $1T in deficit cuts
WASHINGTON — Even as Vice President Joe Biden gave his most optimistic assessment yet of budget talks he’s leading, President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies in the Senate signaled Tuesday a harder line on Medicare. That stance is complicating any effort to produce a deal to cut the deficit by $2 trillion or more over the coming decade or so.

Biden said that he’s confident that the talks will produce an agreement on cutting the deficit "well beyond" $1 trillion over 10 to 12 years. The talks are aimed at finding spending cuts to accompany must-do legislation allowing the government to continue to borrow to finance its operations and avoid defaulting on U.S. bonds.

Senate Democrats promised that any Medicare cuts in the measure would come from health care providers rather than cutting back benefits. The hard line came even as Republicans showed at least some willingness to kill special interest tax breaks this year with a vote on ending the annual $5 billion ethanol tax subsidy.