House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday defended the deal she negotiated with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, against criticism from Senate Democrats.
The agreement would permanently change a formula for doctors' payments under Medicare, ending the need for Congress to pass an annual fix preventing cuts in the payments.
Senate Democrats have complained about language in the package that would restrict federal funding for abortion. They also want to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program for four years instead of two.
The conflict also reflects a new dynamic in Congress, in which Senate Democrats are assuming the role played for years by House Republicans — waging an ideological fight from a disadvantaged position — as Republicans are eager to prove themselves good stewards of government, says The New York Times.
Meanwhile, House Republicans would "deepen already-planned savings in Medicaid" by $140 billion to offset part of the cost of higher payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients, The Associated Press reports.
And an unrelated provision in the bill would extend the Secure Rural Schools Act, which provides about $300 million a year to rural counties that previously depended on timber receipts for funding, The Washington Post says.