Republican Super Congress member Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ) has come out against the committee trying to reach a “grand bargain” that includes new taxes and entitlement reform. From National Journal:
A top Republican on the super committee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts over 10 years said on Tuesday he will ask fellow members to immediately rule out recommending new tax revenue and major entitlement reforms.
Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said an attempt to reach a “grand bargain” that includes such steps as reforming Medicare and the tax code is impossible before the 2012 election and would probably derail the panel.
Here you have a member of the Republican leadership saying the special powers vested in the Super Congress shouldn’t be used to force through major changes to our entitlement programs.
Yet indications are that next week our Democratic President is going to ask the Super Congress to pass a deficit reduction plan larger than the one Kyl is aiming for. It is also possible that Obama may even call for the Super Congress to make major cuts to Medicare and Social Security part of any deficit package. From Politico:
The deficit plan will be more specific than the framework the White House released in April. It is likely to include some unpopular measures that, until now, Obama backed only behind closed doors during the July talks with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to Democratic officials familiar with proposal.
Before the “grand bargain” fell apart over tax revenues, Obama and Boehner agreed on about $250 billion in proposed cuts to Medicare, including gradually raising the eligibility age to 67 and hiking co-pays and premiums for wealthier beneficiaries. They also agreed to change the inflation calculator for Social Security and other federal programs — which critics call a benefit cut.
There was a time when you could say “at least the Democratic Party stands for protecting our popular safety nets,” but pretty soon you may not be able to say that anymore.