- - Monday, January 23, 2012

WHITE HOUSE

Officials delay release of FY 2013 budget

The White House said Monday that it is delaying for one week the release of President Barack Obama’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

The budget traditionally is released on the first Monday in February but the administration has pushed the release to Feb. 13. An administration official said the later date was “determined based on the need to finalize decisions and technical details of the document.”

After last year’s failed attempts at budget deals, election-year expectations are low that Mr. Obama and Congress will be able to make progress this year on deficits that required the government to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spent last year.

But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters that he’s hopeful Congress and Mr. Obama at least will be able to agree upon enough budget savings to forestall across-the-board budget cuts. The cuts are required in the wake of last year’s failure by the deficit supercommittee to come up with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts mandated by the debt limit agreement.

“Maybe we can find one year’s worth of pay-for that can at least stave off a sequester from being implemented on Jan. 1, 2013, so that maybe we can have this election take place and be able to avoid it,” Mr. Cantor said.

Mr. Obama is sure to preview new policy proposals in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, and the subsequent budget release typically fleshes in the details.

Capitol Hill Republicans were quick to criticize the White House delay, saying it shows the White House isn’t serious about tackling the deficit.

“If I were advising President Obama, I’d recommend less time campaigning and more time spent addressing the impending fiscal crisis,” said Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican. “We need a budget with a responsible spending restraint and pro-growth reforms and we need it now.”

FLORIDA

Santorum: Obama pushes doctors from Medicare

LADY LAKE — Republican Rick Santorum is telling Florida seniors that President Obama’s health overhaul is rationing care, adding long wait times and blocking Medicare patients from seeing their doctors.

Mr. Santorum told an audience at an American Legion Hall near Orlando that the health law includes a panel that reduces payments to doctors and hospitals. The presidential hopeful says that those cuts are forcing doctors to drop Medicare patients and to take more patients with private insurance or who can pay for care themselves.

Mr. Santorum says he’s the only candidate with the credibility to force a repeal of the health care law and protect seniors.

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