In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is downplaying expectations for a political fight over Social Security or Medicare in the new Congress.

"The only way to do entitlement eligibility changes is on a bipartisan basis," he said on Thursday at an annual Republican retreat in Hershey, Pa. "In terms of the Senate we do not intend to be offering unilateral, one party-only entitlement eligibility changes."

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Democrats need to gird for a new battle with Republicans over Social Security and be prepared not to yield any ground in defense of the program, one of the leading Democratic senators on the issue told TPM in an interview.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee's Social Security subcommittee, said that Democrats shouldn't be willing to negotiate after House Republicans have stated outright that they want to pursue changes to the program.

Brown also expressed confidence that President Barack Obama would hold strong on Social Security, despite concerns among Social Security advocates that the president has shown a willingness to negotiate over the program in the past.

"We have a president who can use a veto pen and will eagerly do it on something like this," Brown said. He said his confidence in the White House's position "comes from discussions with them."

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68. That's how many times the Congressional Budget Office, Capitol Hill's official scorekeeper, ran the numbers on Obamacare while the law was being drafted. And not once, according to a new analysis, did CBO officials give any credence to the legal challenge now being brought by the law's opponents.

In a review for the Scholars Strategy Network, Harvard University's Theda Skopcol scrutinized 68 reports that CBO released during the 2009 and 2010 debate. She was looking for any evidence that Congress intended for the law's subsidies to be available only on state-run exchanges, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell argue. If they prevail at the Supreme Court, health coverage for millions in the 36 states using the federal exchange would be at risk.

She didn't find any.

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