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White House: Congress' Budget Blueprints Aren't Setback

On a conference call with reporters this morning, Obama's budget director Peter Orszag held firmly to this line, calling the congressional resolutions siblings of the Obama proposal, and insisting that particular changes--like Conrad's move to leave Obama's health care proposal out of the resolution--don't really matter. "Whether the budget resolution included specific offsets or not is not particularly relevant," Orszag said. "The point is that the finance committee has been tasked with coming up with a deficit neutral health reform."

At last night's press conference, though, Obama himself sounded a somewhat different note, "Well, I've emphasized repeatedly what I expect out of this budget. I expect that there's serious efforts at health care reform and that we are driving down costs for families and businesses, and ultimately for the federal and state governments that are going to be broke if we continue on the current path. "

Much of this comes down to semantics, but this is yet another sign that Obama and Conrad are on different pages. Similarly, Orszag repeated his contention that the White House would prefer not to pass health care reform through the reconciliation process, but that the option's still on the table. Conrad is famously opposed to the idea.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at