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Hill Democrats Warm To GOP-Backed Social Security Concession In Fiscal Cliff Talks

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Newscom

The plan would reduce Social Security spending by over $100 billion over 10 years by reducing cost of living adjustments, and potentially increase tax revenues by hastening taxpayers into higher tax brackets.

Though progressive advocates staunchly oppose the move to chained CPI, aides note that there is a broader consensus in the center-left and conservative policy communities for re-indexing Social Security benefits, particularly by comparison to raising the Medicare eligibility age -- the GOP's other, more controversial benefit cut proposal. For instance, the liberal leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has conditionally endorsed the chained CPI proposal.

As such, Democrats will be less likely to support chained CPI unless it's tied to certain conditions -- including an extension of emergency unemployment benefits, and a guarantee that the benefit reduction be used to shore up the Social Security trust fund -- not to reduce U.S. budget deficits.

The development comes after Boehner conceded that top tax rates will rise as part of any budget deal, and put negotiations between himself and Obama on a significantly sounder footing. However, aides caution that the two men have not reached agreement on every element of fiscal cliff negotiations.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com