Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

‘Entitlement Trap’ Is Alive and Well on Capitol Hill

It’s been a full two days since Greg Walden, who runs the House GOP’s political arm, derided the Obama budget as a “shocking attack on seniors” — and his fellow Republicans are still working to recover from their gob-smacked whiplash.

It’s no surprise, of course, that the congressman in charge of recruiting and financing GOP candidates in 2014 would have little nice to say about the president’s plan. But the focus of Walden’s criticism was so surprising that many people in both parties assumed he’d misspoken on Wednesday — and would surely row back his comments on Thursday.

But Walden is sticking by the view that Obama should be derided for his embrace of “chained CPI,” the shorthand for changing how the government calculates inflation in order to reduce cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and some other benefits.

No matter that the proposal would cost the typical senior about $50 next year, and that it is just the sort of modest limit on entitlements that Republicans howl is long overdue, mainly because Democrats starting with Obama haven’t been willing to embrace them. No matter that Walden’s derision of Obama for “trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors” is impossible to square with the budget endorsed last month, not only by Walden but also by almost all the fellow Republicans he’s trying to re-elect next year. It would achieve balance by altogether ending federal medical benefits for the elderly under Medicare as an entitlement.

And no matter that he’s made the top leaders of his caucus furious and prompted the prominent conservative Club for Growth to encourage a 2014 primary challenge against Walden in eastern Oregon.

“This is the least we must do to begin to solve the problem of Social Security,” Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday. “Chairman Walden and I have had a conversation, and we’ll leave it at that.”

The head-spinning situation could be laughed off as so much pandering and posturing were Walden another backbench tea partyer or even in that rare camp of GOP House members vulnerable to defeat in a swing district. But instead he is the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, someone who’s won wide praise as a savvy strategic thinker for his party.

Does this mean House Republican candidates are going to be urged to run away from even the most modest of the entitlement curbs they’ve clamored for? Does it mean the NRCC has concluded that voters have no memories or respect for ideological consistency? Does it mean Obama has just found a convenient exit hatch from the grand bargain budget talks that he probably didn’t know existed on the GOP side of the talks just a few days ago.

Those were some of the questions MSNBC’s Karen Finney, Indiana GOP spokesman Pete Seat and I talked about with Chuck Todd on “The Daily Rundown” this morning. You can watch it here.

  • Layla

    I have an idea….reduce the salaries of anyone in Congress, staff or bureaucrat who makes over $120k a year. YOU work for us, remember?

    • hepette

      i would like to see congress work 5 days every week…no one i know that works gets 2 weeks off for easter vacation!!!!!!!!

  • djslaurel

    Do some research on the long therm effects of the chained CPI: “both the current index (CPI-W) and the chained CPI fail to accurately reflect the costs most seniors face. Notably, they do not account for how much more seniors spend on health care.” I’m a fairly average CSRS retiree, and over the next 20 years, I will lose $40,000 if we switch to the chained CPI! And I expect my health care costs to skyrocket!

    http://www.narfe.org/legislation/articles.cfm?ID=3282

    http://www.afsa.org/RetireeServices/ChainedCPICalculator.aspx

    • TENUI NEC DIMITTAM

      Joe Biden,
      Tell your boss…..
      Absolutely No….52.00/month now–no colas–inflation….
      What’s left ?
      ps…
      Boo Archmere..
      Yes Sallies…
      Be Well Joe

  • Joe Schmo

    test test

  • ARNIE

    WEP/GPO
    ways/means……
    The hearing will take place on Thursday, April 18, 2013, in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
    Thanks,
    Arnie

    WAKE UP AMERICA……..your next…. (it’s not just federal workers).

    Social Security WEP/GPO….1977/1983………..

    My entitlements…..began 2003 @ 62 w/….($6,000.00/year)….LOSS….
    My wife 2023….. (—@ 62—ENTITLEMENTS) ?
    Her Social Security (WILL NOT BE THERE)…….
    Her Spousal on me if I’m dead (WILL NOT BE THERE)…….
    WHY CONTINUE TO TAKE MONIES IF MONIES (WILL NOT BE THERE) ?

    WHERE DID OUR GOV’T SPEND ALL THOSE MONIES?
    WHO’S IN CHARGE OF THE SAVING/DEPOSIT MONIES?

    ONE BIG PONZI SCHEME…..
    MADOFF’S IN JAIL…..
    WHO’S GOING TO JAIL FOR THIS?
    SOMETHING SMELLS…..who got away w/ monies?

    IS THIS ALL FALLING ON DEAF EARS ?
    CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL SENATORS/REPRESENTATIVES.
    MAKE THEM EARN THEIR MONIES…….

    Sending this to……………
    President Obama IL
    Vice President Biden DE
    Senator Carper DE
    Senator Coons DE
    Representative Carney DE
    ps….thanks Andrew from Roll Call
    President Obama IL
    Vice President Biden DE
    Senator Carper DE
    Senator Coons DE
    Representative Carney DE
    ps….thanks Andrew from Roll Call

    • TENUI NEC DIMITTAM

      TENUI NEC DIMITTAM djslaurel • 2 minutes ago
      Joe Biden,
      Tell your boss…..
      Absolutely No….52.00/month now–no colas–inflation….
      What’s left ?
      ps…
      Boo Archmere..
      Yes Sallies…
      Be Well Joe

  • http://www.facebook.com/rcosenza1 Robert Cosenza

    we the people,who are the real government.the longer we allow this ineligible treasonous musmutt traitor ovomit/satan to remain in office,the longer this upsur will continue to destroy the constitituion/bill of rights,i call on wayne/nra/amac/john birch society/all militias/all freedom loving,god fearing legal american veternas/citizens,and donald thrump you stated ovomit/satan in revolution begin,no donald an evolution of we the people,and all legal gun owners,there are 535 treasonous unamerican traitors in ovomit and his band of treasonous traitors,trying to force unconstitiuional laws down our throats.time to communicate/prepare/focus/plan/refine plan,there are over 5 million nra members alone,and with the millions of legal gun owners,time to gather under one giant freedom umbrella.we the people are the govt,not these 535 traitors in ovomit/lucifer and his unamerican band of traitors in his adminstration.god bless sheriff joe and cold case posse,dr oily taitz,chuck norris,frank serpico,and all legal american veternas/citizens.we the people have the right and the might.yea thou i walk in the valley of the shadow of death,i will fear no evil/ovomit

    • t_bone_30

      You’re an idiot. Shut up. Nobody cares what you think about anything.

  • floridawasp

    So what does the GOP really want?

  • King Bishop

    What happened to Social Security? – Congress has used it as a source of revenue while allowing the wealthy to skim the taxes.

    Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, which means that payments collected today are immediately used to pay benefits. Until recently, more payments were collected than were needed for benefits. So, Social Security loaned the money to the U.S. government, which used it for other things. In exchange, Social Security receives interest-bearing Treasury securities. The value of those bonds is now about $2.6 trillion.

    The bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Until the debt ceiling debate, one could not imagine that any president or Congress would risk defaulting on these bonds because it would damage the nation’s financial standing. Still, the bonds are considered a good bet–deemed to be one of the safest places to keep money.

    Social Security is solvent for the next 25 years. SEARCH: Trust Fund FAQs – Social Security

  • http://twitter.com/mondovibe mondovibe

    Raise the cap a painless amount and stimulate sustainable education/jobs/industry Made in the USA and move on already!

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...