- NAACP: Detroit water shutoffs are racially motivated
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- Big milestone for Britain’s little Prince George who turns 1
- Murphy: Israel must be wary of Hamas using civilian deaths for recruitment
- Royce: Putin recruiting ‘every skinhead and malcontent around Russia’
- Nancy Pelosi is adamant: Congress worked together when Bush was president
- ‘Slender Man’ stabbing victim receives Purple Heart from anonymous veteran
- Kentucky city called socialist for buying gas station, undercutting competitor fuel prices
- Israel hits five mosques, sports complex in overnight Gaza strikes
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters’ questions on book tour
Restive Democrats warn Obama on deficit talks
Question of the Day
Turmoil in Democratic ranks spread Friday over President Obama’s bid to reduce spending on Social Security and Medicare as part of intensifying deficit-reduction talks with congressional Republican leaders.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, met with Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the White House Friday morning. She declared later that House Democrats “would not reduce the deficit or subsidize tax cuts for the rich on the backs of America’s seniors.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode island Democrat, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent and one of the Senate’s most liberal members, held a conference call with representatives of more than 300 liberal groups, including MoveOn.org, the National Organization for Women and labor unions opposed to any cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security.
“There’s been very little conversation between the White House and the Senate about this, and I think they’re making a grievous mistake if they think they can just present anything to us and assume that because we’re Democrats, we’ll go along with what the president has capitulated to,” Mr. Whitehouse said.
“These programs matter a lot to Democrats, as they should, because they matter a lot to the American people,” Mr. Carney said. “But absolutely there are tough choices here that in a different world we may not make.”
Negotiators from the administration and Congress are working through the weekend on proposals to reduce the deficit by up to $4 trillion over 10 years, primarily through spending cuts. Mr. Obama will meet again with congressional leaders at the White House Sunday to review the proposals.
The parties are trying to reach a deal before Aug. 2 to raise the nation’s debt limit of $14.29 trillion. Treasury Secretary Timothy M. Geither has warned that the U.S. would default on some of its obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised by the deadline. He said the fallout from default could lead to another recession.
Republican leaders are insisting on deep cuts in spending as part of any deal, and have said they will oppose broad-based tax increases.
In spite of the high stakes, Republicans expressed skepticism that negotiators will strike a compromise.
“It’s not like there’s an imminent deal about to happen,” House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, told reporters Friday. “There are serious disagreements about how to deal with this very serious problem.”
Asked about his expectations for Sunday’s scheduled meeting, Mr. Boehner held his hands wide apart and said, “I don’t know. I don’t think this problem has narrowed at all in the last several days.”
Mrs. Pelosi told reporters that she is still optimistic a deal can be reached. But, she said, “it has to be reflective of our values, because 10 years of a budget has a very serious impact on the future.”
She said any entitlement savings achieved through a “global grand plan” to reduce the deficit should be plowed back into the programs for seniors to extend the solvency of federal programs for the elderly.
Congressional Democrats are still smarting from the president’s deal with Republicans in December to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for two more years. Liberal lawmakers opposed the agreement because it didn’t impose higher taxes on families earning more than $250,000 per year.
Mr. Carney said opponents of spending cuts on entitlements should focus on “distinctions” between the administration’s agenda and proposals advanced by Republican lawmakers.
“We can find savings in Medicaid and Medicare out of the cost of health care, not by transferring all of the burden onto seniors,” Mr. Carney said. “We certainly don’t think in order to pay for tax cuts or to balance the budget that we need to essentially end Medicare as we know it and voucherize it and shift costs of up to $6,000 per senior per year to pay for it.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Putin calls for ceasefire in Ukraine
- Vladimir Putin pressured to aid Ukraine plane crash probe, rein in rebels
- Obama calls for Israel-Hamas cease-fire
- Obama: Putin must force separatist cooperation with probe of Malaysian flight crash
- GOP to Obama: 'Put down your pen and phone' on 'opportunity agenda' push
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters' questions on book tour
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- Blunder on the bases costly in D-Backs' 4-3 loss
- Nancy Pelosi: Congress worked together when Bush was president
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq