President Barack Obama’s proposed changes to entitlement programs could open the door for another attempt to reach a “grand bargain” with Congress on a long-term deficit-reduction compromise.
The president’s fiscal 2014 budget plan released this week contains a proposal to reduce future Social Security benefits by limiting cost-of-living increases and trims the rate of growth in Medicare.
Obama insisted the changes be linked to raising additional revenue by closing loopholes on the wealthy, which most Republicans rejected out-of-hand, while members of his own party howled against the Social Security cuts.
But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he’s willing to accept more revenues if they come with entitlement cuts.
“I think $600 billion in revenue is possible on our side if you get meaningful entitlement reform,” Graham said, according to Politico
. Graham said the president needs to sell entitlement reform to the Democrats.
Senators on both sides of the aisle have talked about resurrecting a group that conducted deficit-reduction negotiations for several years in an attempt to forestall the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that started this year.
“We have never stopped talking,” Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who participated in the earlier round of deficit talks, told Politico. “The only way we get something done is bipartisan.”
Politico also reported that GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia “is also open to trying to return to deficit talks with a bipartisan group.”
Another sign that an attempt at reaching a “grand bargain” could be successful is the recent bipartisan negotiations in the Senate that reached compromises on the contentious issues of immigration reform and gun control.
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