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Finance Committee To Be Platform For Health Care, Deficit Debate

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From his new perch on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) hopes he can work out differences with House Republicans as they try to rework the new health care law. Cardin says he knows House Republicans are looking to slash budgets at the Department of Health and Human Services in order to tackle the growing national debt. But he says cuts must be fair and tempered.

"You've got to do deficit reduction in a way that does not disrupt our economy," he says.

Cardin says reigning in the deficit doesn't mean halting all investments. He wants to help improve access to health care as the new law is implemented. To do that, Cardin says lawmakers in both parties need to reshuffle the deck by cutting in areas like Defense and also rolling back some tax credits that are currently on the books.

"So if we put all that together -- if we have a serious plan for deficit reduction -- there will be room in that plan to move forward with important issues whether it's health care or roads or job creation, we're going to still be able to do that," he says.

In the name of national security, many Republicans are balking at the idea of drastically cutting the Pentagon's budget. Rather, they're looking to reform entitlements and to roll back spending levels for all agencies to 2008 levels.

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