House Dem leaders balk at Obama’s plan to cut Social Security
By Mike Lillis – 04/11/13 05:55 PM ET
House Democratic leaders pushed back Thursday against President Obama’s decision to include Social Security cuts as part of his 2014 budget request.
Several top-ranking Democrats — including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Steny Hoyer (Md.), James Clyburn (S.C.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) — questioned the wisdom of altering popular seniors benefits in the context of deficit reduction.
“I think there was general consensus that all of that discussion should be something for the table on which we preserve Social Security and not really part of this budget,” Pelosi said following a meeting Democrats held with budget experts on the White House plan to reduce future Social Security benefits by adopting a new way of calculating inflation.
Obama’s budget proposal has infuriated liberals for including the chained CPI proposal, which would change the formula used to calculate Social Security benefits and lower payments over the long term.
Most of pushback from rank-and-file members, she said, stemmed from concerns that the Social Security cut appeared to be “subsidizing … lesser priorities” rather than bolstering the program itself. That could have negative consequences on future efforts to strengthen the program, Pelosi lamented.
“What may happen, because of this debate, is that lines may be so drawn on this subject as part of the budget, that it might prejudice people as an approach,” she added. “It’s too bad it’s in the budget.”