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Debt Limit Talks Will Tackle Medicare, Medicaid

Debt ceiling negotiations Tuesday are expected to move to the politically risky terrain of entitlements, according to Congressional leadership aides.

Vice President Joseph Biden and Congressional negotiators are slated to restart talks after a weeklong break because of a House recess.

While much of the discussions have centered on common ground for budget cutting — such as agriculture subsidies — lawmakers and Biden are going to begin discussing ways to find savings or cuts from Medicare and Medicaid, according to a Congressional leadership aide.

“They are going to move on to trickier topics,” another aide familiar with the negotiations said. “It doesn’t mean they won’t make progress. It just gets slower now.”

There is more attention being paid to the negotiations since the “gang of six” Senators appeared to collapse last week when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) pulled out of the talks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly that the Biden negotiations are likely to lead to a deal and that if a deal is reached, he will recommend it to his Conference. The Obama administration has publicly said a debt limit increase must be passed by Aug. 2, when the government would begin to default on its obligations.