No Time Off for Health Care Debate

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama may be vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, but back here in Washington the controversy over health care reform goes on.
    
On Monday, his administration released numbers that show the projected deficit over the next decade will be $9 trillion, not the $7 trillion it forecast before. This makes passing an expensive health care overhaul even harder.
     
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Ind.-Conn., declared this weekend that the Obama administration should push for just a little bit of reform now, not a huge overhaul.
 
"I'm afraid we've got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy's out of recession," Lieberman told CNN.
    
With dozens of senators such as Lieberman balking at an overall overhaul, Senate leaders say they may use a tactic that lets them pass an overhaul with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the 60 ordinarily needed. 

'Hurry Up and Die' Controversy
    
There's another controversy brewing over health care - this time involving a booklet the Veterans Administration has been pushing on ailing veterans. 
    
Jim Towey, President George Bush's faith-based office chief, said the guide could push some veterans toward ending their own life.
    
While being interviewed on "Fox News Sunday," Towey talked about examples from he book.  He cited one where veterans in a wheelchair or who can't get outdoors or who are severe financial burdens on their family are asked to contemplate whether their life is not worth living.

"And this is a slippery slope that kind of makes people - when you look at the document, it makes people feel like they're a burden and that they should do the decent thing and die," Towey said.

Towey also talked about the author of the booklet having pro-euthanasia leanings.

"He's been an advocate for assisted suicide both in a U.S. Supreme Court case where he filed an amicus brief but in other writings where he was a contributor to a book about physician-aided killing," he explained.

Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., told "Fox News Sunday" he'll call for Senate hearings about the booklet immediately.

"I think Mr. Towey's exactly right," Specter said. "There ought not to be suggestions to encourage people to make decisions to end life."

The Veterans Administration is also mixed up in another controversy.  It has not been able to get disability payments in the hands of some veterans who were severely wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq.  But the agency has managed to give out $24 million in bonuses to its own employees.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.