Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2015

Social Security Cuts Still ‘on the Table’ but Not in Obama’s Budget

Updated 2:19 p.m. | President Barack Obama’s decision to drop a proposal to trim cost-of-living increases for Social Security and many other federal benefits from his budget cheered liberals on and off Capitol Hill — although the White House clarified the offer remains “on the table.”

Separately the White House announced that it would live with the spending caps agreed to in the budget deal between Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, D-Wis. But the budget will also have a separate $56 billion “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative,” which would effectively replace the remaining sequester for fiscal 2015 with supplemental spending split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. The White House says that package would be fully offset with “spending and tax reforms.”

The decision to drop so-called “chained CPI” came after Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and 15 other senators wrote Obama a letter Feb. 14 urging Social Security to be spared in the president’s budget blueprint.

“With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we cannot afford to make life even more difficult for seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in America,” said Sanders, who has railed repeatedly on the Senate floor against cutting benefits due under the law.

Obama had included the proposal, which would shrink the inflation rate used to calculate a host of benefits and tax breaks, as part of an attempted grand bargain on the budget, but Republicans refused White House demands for new revenue to go along with cuts in entitlements.

However, while the proposal will not be in his budget blueprint, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that the president’s proposal remains “on the table,” but only as part of a larger package that would shrink tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

“It’s a principle of fairness,” Earnest said.

“The offer to Speaker Boehner remains on the table for whenever the Republicans decide they want to engage in a serious discussion about a balanced plan to deal with our long-term fiscal challenges that includes closing loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations,” a White House official said in a separate background memo.

The official noted that last year the president included his compromise proposal as an offer to Republicans.

“This year the Administration is returning to a more traditional Budget presentation that is focused on achieving the President’s vision for the best path to create growth and opportunity for all Americans, and the investments needed to meet that vision,” the official said.

Other highlights released by the White House include:

  • a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers paid for by closing tax loopholes
  • a reduction in the deficit to less than 2 percent of GDP by the end of the 10-year budget window. Debt as a share of the economy will be below Obama’s previous budgets
  • 45 new manufacturing institutes
  • a “race to the top” for energy efficiency
  • a skills training plan
  • universal pre-K and improved Head Start options

Comments (23)

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  1. Looey

    Feb. 20, 2014
    3:39 p.m.

    We don’t need universal pre-kindergarten and more Head Start. A study commissioned by HHS found that after third grade, Head Start was not effective. This is another major spending program to benefit the teachers’ union, not the children. We are so far in debt now that we will never get out or at least while Obama is president.

    • MargaretEDavis

      Feb. 22, 2014
      4:14 p.m.

      GEEEE this president’s administration cut the deficit in half. Of course since the media doesn’t really take time to post stuff like that unintelligent people can’t understand it. When George W. Bush took office he had billions in surplus. He started two wars at the cost of 6 trillion dollars and three most of the cost on to this administration. Now if you can search the internet and when you do find the information and be intelligent enough to understand what you read then you will see that it has been CUT IN HALF. Boy spending billions in surplus causing 6 trillion in a defict I ‘d say that was the guy who cause us all the trouble. It took a Democratic administration,(with out the help of the tea bags and republicans in the House who blocked and denied everything he tried to do) to cut the deficit in half. Good job Mr. Obama .

  2. jrconner

    Feb. 20, 2014
    5:10 p.m.

    As long as the White House says Social Security cuts are still on the table, President Barack Hussein Obama remains dangerous to America’s senior citizens.

    • blfdjlj

      Feb. 20, 2014
      10:58 p.m.

      Social security must be cut. Do do otherwise represents generational theft.

      • MargaretEDavis

        Feb. 22, 2014
        4:10 p.m.

        BS SOCIAL SECURITY IS THE ONLY PROGRAM IN THIS COUNTRY THAT IS PAID FOR AND FUNDED BY THE PEOPLE. And there is not such republican or tea bag BS statement that it is theft. Course if tea bags and republicans were intelligent enough to understand that most of the INTELLIGENT people in this country already know that. It is those that can read and not understand and have those way below average IQ’s that dont

  3. Amanda Nevada

    Feb. 20, 2014
    9:40 p.m.

    In 2012, the brain-dead apparatchiks of the Obama regime wasted $96,000 on iPads for kids. In kindergarten.

    • MargaretEDavis

      Feb. 22, 2014
      4:08 p.m.

      And George W. Bush wasted 6 TRILLION DOLLARS on a war he started. And then threw the cost to this administration because he hid it til after he left office. Gee 96 thousand compared to 6 trillion. Oh oh oh you probably think that’s OK a republican did that.

  4. blfdjlj

    Feb. 20, 2014
    10:58 p.m.

    Social Security should be reformed. The program is going bankrupt given the country’s rapidly-aging population.

    • MargaretEDavis

      Feb. 22, 2014
      4:07 p.m.

      I guess you listen to republican talking points. The social security fund is the only thing left in this country that is solvent. There is at least 2.7 BILLION dollars there. That’s the problem the republicans and wall street are messing their pants trying to get their hands on all that money .Why do you thing they want to privatize it.

  5. Coffee Fiend

    Feb. 21, 2014
    8:26 a.m.

    Kathleen Sebelius lied when she claimed that 70,000 children would lose access to Head Start due to the 2013 sequester.

  6. MargaretEDavis

    Feb. 22, 2014
    4:05 p.m.

    So the president will cut social security as a “principal of fairness” which will kill off old people, who dont have a large amount of social security now. This principal of fairness as I said gets rid of old people so that the president can give the rich more money. Whose side is he on anyway? Most countries honor their seniors it seems that the US does the opposite, they try to screw them out of all then can I guess so they will die off quicker.

  7. Jonathan Leibowitz

    Feb. 22, 2014
    6:41 p.m.

    Here we find a slide show of Obama regime apparatchiks enjoying lifestyles of the rich and famous on your dime: http://tinyurl.com/ltd2wpq

  8. Bo Tye

    Feb. 23, 2014
    2:44 a.m.

    George W. Bush helped cut the Federal deficit by 49% between 2005 and 2007.

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