The Hill reports:
Senate Democrats and the White House are pressuring Republican members of the Gang of Six to reach an agreement on a deficit-reduction package so it can be used as a credible alternative to the budget unveiled last week by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), according to Senate sources.
Ryan’s plan calls for a cost-slashing overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid, and Democrats want to have a deficit-cutting alternative that would keep the structure of Medicare intact while increasing tax revenue and cutting defense spending.
“They’re impatient and I don’t blame them,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Gang of Six, when asked about the White House’s efforts to push the talks along. “Let’s look back at the healthcare debate. There was a study group there that never finished.”
The group’s discussions have already dragged on for five months, holding up the Senate Democratic budget plan. Ryan’s proposal is expected to pass the House on Friday.
“I don’t think the White House is frustrated, but they’re ready” for an agreement, said a senior Senate Democratic aide.