Democrats Fear Political Pain From Entitlement Cuts
Though some Democrats view the Obama's strategy to reach a budget deal as a positive development, others are making pleas to take Medicare and Social Security cuts off of the bargaining table - fearing that changes to these programs would make them vulnerable in the upcoming election cycle.
The Wall Street Journal: Entitlement Cuts Divide Democrats
Senior White House officials believe a bipartisan deal that cuts spending while ending narrow tax breaks would boost Mr. Obama's standing with independent voters, help his claim to be a "postpartisan" problem solver and buoy his re-election chances. Some Senate Democrats, facing tough re-election bids in Republican-leaning states share similar feelings. But many House Democrats see cuts to entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as fundamentally undermining their plans to retake control of the House (Weisman, 7/8).
The New York Times: Democrats Oppose Talk Of Cuts To Social Security
Congressional Democrats, who have thrived for decades as guardians of Social Security, said Thursday that they were not ready to surrender that role to help President Obama get a deal on federal spending and the debt limit. As word spread that Mr. Obama was considering large savings from the use of a different measure of inflation to reduce the annual cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits, Democrats joined with lobbyists for older Americans to reject the idea. Republicans are concerned about the growth of entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare. Some, like Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, support the idea of an alternative measure of inflation, known as the chain-weighted version of the Consumer Price Index, because they believe it is more accurate. But the party, waiting to see details, has not taken an official stand (Pear, 7/7).
Politico: Entitlements Talk Spooks Dems
Across the Capitol on Thursday, Democrats openly fretted about the potential reforms to Medicare and Social Security now at the center of President Barack Obama's talks with congressional leaders to slash $4 trillion in exchange for raising the national debt ceiling (Raju and Sherman, 7/8).
Politico: Liberal Democrats Furious At Obama
Liberal House Democrats wrote to President Barack Obama on Thursday pleading with him to take Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid off the table in debt negotiations. In a letter to the president, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said any cuts to the major entitlement programs would harm families in a slow-recovering economy (Kim, 7/7).
NPR: The Politics Behind The Debt-Ceiling Drama
The president is already getting excoriated by progressives alarmed at White House willingness to put entitlement program cutbacks on the table. And Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who has met privately with the president in recent days to lay groundwork for a deal, faces the seemingly insurmountable task of selling tax loophole eliminations that some in his caucus view as tantamount to tax increases (Halloran, 7/7).
Kaiser Health News: In The Capitol Corridors: Democrats Weigh Politics Of Health Cuts
Democrats have been attacking Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan for months, and they used it as a defining issue in a recent New York House race where Democrat Kathy Hochul won. So would agreeing to reductions in Medicare or Medicaid as part of a debt ceiling deal create a similar vulnerability for Democrats? (Carey, 7/7).
The Associated Press: Pelosi: Dems Oppose Social Security, Medicare Cuts
Signals have emerged that the White House would consider culling savings from Social Security and Medicare. But Pelosi, a California Democrat, says Democrats believe those two programs should not be used to pay for tax breaks for the rich (7/7).
San Francisco Chronicle: Nancy Pelosi Blasts Plan To Trim Social Security Benefit Growth
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum to the White House on Social Security and Medicare today, saying House Democrats won't back a budget deal that cuts these programs. The White House seems open to tightening the inflation index to rein in future SS benefit growth. Pelosi's ultimatum is similar to the Republican's against all tax increases, even if they involve ending tax breaks. Higher revenues and lower benefits are both necessary to tame future deficits. Entitlement programs are unsustainable thanks to rising health care costs and the Baby Boom retirement. Tax revenues are near historic postwar lows as a result of the recession and the Bush tax cuts (Lockhead, 7/7).
The Hill: House Liberals Demand No Cuts To Medicare, Social Security In Deficit Deal
A group of House liberals is pressing President Obama to take all cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security off the table as the White House grapples with Republicans for a debt-limit deal. Obama is reportedly eying significant entitlement reforms as a deficit-reduction strategy in an effort to entice Republicans to accept new revenue raisers as part of a package to hike the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling (Lillis, 7/8).