At issue are expensive entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Republicans working on the deal say they are willing to stand down on certain revenue increases — like the elimination of loopholes and deductions that benefit wealthier Americans — so long as Democrats agree to move forward on reforms to those sacred entitlement programs.
One by one, however, Democratic senators have taken to the cable airwaves this week to say they are not willing to touch Social Security.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed that sentiment: “President Obama said that Social Security is not part of what . . . we’re going to do in this. And I agree with him.”
He continued, “I personally believe there are things that we can do with entitlements that don’t hurt beneficiaries. But I’m not going to negotiate this with you simply other than to say that we hope that they can agree to the tax revenue that we’re talking about, and that is rate increases. And then as the president has said on a number of occasions, we’ll be happy to deal with entitlements.”
In prepared remarks earlier Tuesday, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, went further: He said all entitlement programs — including Medicare and Medicaid — should be dealt with, but not in any fiscal cliff negotiations.