Nancy Pelosi: House Democrats Won’t Accept Entitlement Cuts In Debt Deal
The Republicans have drawn a line in the sand in the debt negotiations on the issue of taxes, and now the Democrats have drawn their own line and said they will not accept any cuts in Medicare or Social Security:
After a contentious White House meeting with President Obama and other Congressional leaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) returned to the Capitol and drew an important red line: Members of her caucus won’t vote for a grand bargain to raise the debt limit and reduce future deficits if the final deal includes cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits — and that means it probably won’t pass.
“You [asked], ‘could the changes compromise the vote?’” Pelosi said at a Thursday afternoon briefing near the House chamber. “I said yes.”
It’s widely believed that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will need Democratic votes to raise the debt limit. Democratic leaders, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have offered to help him out — but not on Boehner’s terms alone. Pelosi has her own terms.
“We have been very clear Democrats are not supporting — House Democrats are not supporting any cuts in benefits for Social Security or Medicare,” she said.
Pelosi argued at her press conference that any savings wrung from Social Security and Medicare should be rerouted into strengthening those programs, not toward reducing deficits.
“Any discussion of Medicare or Social Security should be on its own table,” Pelosi warned. “Do not consider Social Security a piggy bank for giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country.”
So we’ve got Republicans taking taxes off the table, and Democrats taking entitlements off the table. This leaves about 25% of Federal spending to deal with, and there’s simply not enough there to cut. Either both sides give in a little on their sacred cows, or we end up with a phony deal that delays the inevitable perhaps a few more years but accomplishes absolutely nothing.
In other words, business as usual.