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Monday, March 11, 2013

Could Washington Budget Duel Be A Good Sign?

House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan, left, arrives at the White House for a lunch with the president on March 7, 2013. At right, Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray speaks at a press conference on Feb. 28, 2013. (AP)

House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan, left, arrives at the White House for a lunch with the president on March 7, 2013. At right, Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray speaks at a press conference on Feb. 28, 2013. (AP)

The duel in question this week: rival budget proposals expected from Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan.

Details revealed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday show that the parties remain far apart on key issues.

Ryan’s budget will ask for big changes to Medicare and Medicaid, but no new tax increases or Pentagon cuts.

Murray’s budget will have modest changes to domestic spending programs, and higher taxes for corporations and high-earners.

That sounds like the old divide between the parties about the role of the government. But together, the new budgets represent an attempt to get Congress back to something it has not done in years – pass a real budget instead of last-minute stopgap spending bills.

The dueling budgets come after a week in which the President’s so-called “charm offensive” – meals and meetings with Republicans – resulted in the news that the “grand bargain” negotiations over taxes and budgets may be back on the table.

Guest:

  • Rick Klein, senior Washington editor for ABC World News and co-host of the the network’s political webcast, “Top Line.” He tweets @rickklein.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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