President Barack Obama will drop Social Security cuts he supported last year in his upcoming budget proposal, White House sources told TPM on Thursday.
The president’s budget blueprint for the coming year will omit the so-called Chained CPI proposal, which slows the rate at which Social Security benefits grow (which were included in his budget plan last year).
“The compromise embedded in last year’s Budget included policies like chained CPI — the number one policy change that Republicans had asked for in previous fiscal negotiations,” said a White House official. “However, over the course of last year, Republicans consistently showed a lack of willingness to negotiate on a deficit reduction deal, refusing to identify even one unfair tax loophole they would be willing to close, despite the President’s willingness to put tough things on the table.”
The decision is a result of the decreasing deficit, burgeoning focus on equality of opportunity and the argument that Republicans refused to return the favor on taxes when they had the chance. Obama has also been facing a rebellion among liberals, who are mobilizing against Social Security cuts ahead of the 2014 elections. The president isn’t definitively taking the idea off the table as part of a broad budget deal that includes tax revenues.
“The offer to Speaker Boehner remains on the table for whenever the Republicans decide they want to engage in a serious discussion about a balanced plan to deal with our long-term fiscal challenges that includes closing loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations,” the White House official said.
House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) office responded by strongly criticizing the White House for abandoning Social Security cuts.
“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, a spokesman for Boehner. “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. With three years left in office, it seems the president is already throwing in the towel.”
This article has been updated to include the response from Boehner’s office.