White House backs away from proposed ‘chained’ CPI Social Security savings

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The White House said Thursday that President Obama’s next budget will drop an offer to accept lower cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits through the so-called “chained” consumer price index.

White House deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest said the proposal “remains on the table” but won’t be included in Mr. Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget when it is presented by March 4. He blamed congressional Republicans for not offering to raise any revenue in return for what would be a concession by Democrats.

“Unfortunately Republicans refused to even consider the possibility,” Mr. Earnest said.

The White House included the proposal in last year’s budget.

Republicans said the move was proof that Mr. Obama doesn’t want to take meaningful steps to reduce budget deficits.

“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis,” said Brendan Buck, an aide to Speaker John A. Boehner. “With three years left in office, it seems the president is already throwing in the towel.”

He added, “The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans.”

Mr. Earnest said the administration has reduced annual budget deficits significantly since Mr. Obama took office and red ink was running at more than $1 trillion per year.

He said by the end of this 10-year budget cycle, the annual deficit will be less than 2 percent of gross domestic product.

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