Senate committee nearing approval of $10 billion in cuts to Medicaid, Medicare

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The Senate Finance Committee is nearing passage of a fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation package that would cut $10 billion from Medicaid and Medicare.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, who presented the package, said two votes are needed for a majority to pass the package. Two Republican senators reportedly are holding out for additional funding for specific programs. Earlier this week, Grassley presented a package that would have cut programs by $12 billion. He later said if he seals the two votes the package would save $10 billion.

The package includes a $1.8 billion Medicaid expansion for Hurricane Katrina survivors. Grassley hopes to secure the outstanding votes before Wednesday, when the Senate Budget Committee creates the final Senate reconciliation package.