If the Republicans are willing to negotiate, they clearly have a willing partner in President Obama.
“Obama stood firm Tuesday when pressed to back away from benefit cuts during the meeting with the Senate Democratic Conference, according to lawmakers who attended.
Democrats emerged from the Senate’s Mike Mansfield Room publicly declaring party unity.
But behind closed doors, liberals in the Senate caucus raised concerns about Obama’s readiness to consider cuts to Social Security benefits and his support for a deficit-reduction package evenly split between spending cuts and tax increases.
Obama did not back down from a proposal to switch to the chained consumer price index formula for calculating Social Security benefits, according to lawmakers…”
“I urged him not to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats.
“He is concerned about the long-term solvency of Social Security and so am I. But I think he recognized there are different ways to approach it. You can bring more revenue into the program or you can cut benefits.
“At this point I think he is more inclined to cut benefits, which I strongly disagree with,” Sanders said.
Clearly, Obama would not be able to bring all of his fellow Democrats along on a deal, just as John Boehner and Mitch McConnell would not be able to deliver all of their fellow Republicans. But unlike Obama, Boehner and McConnell show absolutely no interest in trying, and no willingness to take a political risk.
– Jay Bookman