I have a corneal abrasion and a patch over my eye until tomorrow, so this may not be up to usual standards, but here goes:
There's a two week budget extension to avoid a government shut-down. It contains major budget cuts, but not a defunding of health reform. Now comes the hard part, the "negotiations" over a longer term solution. The Democrats are prepared to agree to many cuts, but not to defunding health reform. Whether or not a deal can be reached remains to be seen. The President has invited Congressional leaders to meet with VP Biden to discuss. Republicans in the Senate are in a bind, though, because they can't pass the cuts that the House GOP wants, but the House GOP has warned Senator McConnell not to pass anything less. Therefore, the GOP leaders may not show up for the meeting with VP Biden.
I'm sorry -- I can't help but inject a little editorializing here. How does the GOP expect to convince anybody that their position is correct if they refuse to even discuss it?
The GOP wants Medicare on the budget-cutting table, accusing the White House of skirting the issue. They have not come forward with a plan of their own; they are accusing the White House of failing to lead by not doing so first. Meanwhile, the General Accountability Office has said that Medicare loses $48 billion due to fraud -- something the health reform bill does try to confront.
The FDA has ordered 500 cold and flu drugs off the market because their safety and effectiveness have not been established.
That's it for now. I'll add more later if my eye is up to it. Jennifer