It appears Social Security will be left alone in any immediate deal to address the fiscal cliff. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has dropped his demand to include a Chained-CPI Social Security benefit cut in a smaller package due to opposition by Senate Democrats. From Huffington Post:
Tense “fiscal cliff” negotiations on Capitol Hill Sunday inched forward slightly as Republican senators agreed to take Social Security cuts off their list of immediate demands.
The cut that GOP leaders had proposed — picking up on a now-defunct offer from President Barack Obama — involved basing Social Security cost-of-living adjustments on a chained consumer price index (CPI), which grows more slowly than current measures of inflation and therefore would give seniors less in benefits as time went on.
Social Security is only safe in the very short term though. Now that President Obama has officially backed it giving the Republicans what they see as political cover, they are intent on getting it.
Any smaller deal to avert the fiscal cliff will likely only delay the sequestration cuts for a few months. This will probably result in an attempt to find a permanent solution to the sequestrations being tied in with a potential debt ceiling fight in early 2013. That is when the GOP plans to renew their push for Social Security cut, according to Bob Corker:
“We do expect it to be part of the debt ceiling negotiations,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), in a signal that extending the nation’s borrowing limit — which the United States has nearly reached — will not be part of any imminent deal.
Social Security has not been saved from cuts, but it appears to have gotten another temporary reprieve. It will probably only be a few months before it is under attack again.
Photo by World Economic Forum under Creative Commons License