If only I had a dollar

For every time someone told me Obama would never do this. He was “playing chess” or “boxing the Republicans into a corner.” I think they still don’t believe it. Chumps!

President Barack Obama told Senate Democrats that they should be open to changes in entitlement programs to achieve a long-term budget deal, according to several lawmakers who attended a meeting with him on Capitol Hill today.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said Obama told Democrats during the 90-minute meeting that he wanted a broad, bipartisan deficit-reduction deal this year. Harkin said Obama rebuffed his demand, joined by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, for an assurance that Medicare and Social Security benefits would be remain untouched in any “grand bargain” agreement.

“Of course some of us responded ‘yes, but, what is in that grand bargain?’” because “we don’t want to start whacking away at Social Security or Medicare,” Harkin told reporters. “He didn’t make a commitment but he seemed to indicate that, yes, there are other ways of solving the entitlement problems without doing that.”

Obama’s meeting with Senate Democrats marked the start of three days of meetings the president has with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He holds closed-door meetings tomorrow with House Republicans and on March 14 will meet with Senate Republicans and House Democrats. Obama didn’t make a statement while entering or leaving the meeting.

Asked following the meeting if he could support increasing the eligibility age for Medicare, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin declined to answer directly. Instead he said he liked that Obama “is taking a very pragmatic approach” to entitlements.

“We’re not going to be, as Democrats, changing our core values on Medicare or Social Security,” Manchin said. “But with that, running more efficiently, looking at things that do make sense, I think he’s looking at that.”

3 Responses to If only I had a dollar

  1. imhotep March 13, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Without “whacking away at Social Security and Medicare.” “He, Obama, seemed to indicate that, yes, there are other ways of solving the entitlement problems without doing that,” said Harkin. Who the chumps are is not yet obvious.

  2. Jay March 13, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    I don’t buy it. It’s the Senate Democrats’ responsibility to negotiate with their Republican counterparts, not Obama’s. This is just a ploy for Obama to give the Senators plausible deniability on a “Grand Bargain” that most of them want. If they were serious about defending social programs, not only would they buck Obama, but they would be putting certain proposals, like raising the Social Security contribution cap.

    “. . . what is in that grand bargain?’” WTF kind of question is this for a United States Senator to ask? It’s time for Obama to display some of his Broderian bipartisanship and reach across the aisle . . . to the Progressive Caucus. I don’t see any downside for them to join with Republicans to deny him everything and anything he wants until they get concessions from him to do what they want, instead of what the Republicans want. If he walks like a Republican, talks like a Republican, and governs like a Republican, it’s time to treat him like a Republican. Let him make a deal with the Republicans, in which the Republicans will get everything they want and still vote against it, then have the Progressive Caucus vote against it too, because they’re taken for granted and didn’t get anything they wanted. Obama would have egg on his face, where it should be.

  3. lless March 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Been here, done this.”Public option”, or have we all forgotten? Time to make the bite worse than all the barking. Senators Klobuchar and Franken may rest assured that a vote by them for entitlement cuts guarantees my vote for any Republican opponent. Better to wipe the slate of these jackals and start over. We know full well what they are doing. It’s called triangulation. Time to cry fire!

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