Budget battles: Let the debate begin

As Congress prepares to vote on resolving the current year's budget compromise, Tribune Washington Bureau correspondent Lisa Mascaro on Thursday morning sorted out the conflicting positions after President Obama’s debt and deficit speech on Wednesday.

In an interview on Chicago's WGN, Mascaro analyzes the reaction to the president's speech which set the table for Democrats and Republicans. The parties will likely battle for months on issues including raising the debt ceiling and the budget that begins with the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

"Let the debate begin," Mascaro said.

The American people face two competing visions about how to deal with cutting spending and decreasing the overall debt, Mascaro said. Complicating the discussion is that there are two different standards at work: the policy and the politics casting at eye at the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

The debate is important because ultimately the American voting public will have to decide between the visions and how it plays out in key government services like Medicare, the healthcare system for the elderly.

"What kind of system do you want?'" Mascaro noted.

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