From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/07/progressive-dems-social-security-cuts_n_892210.html
By Elise Foley
July 7, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Progressives in Congress are largely holding their fire at the White House over reports that President Obama is considering deep Social Security and Medicare cuts as part of a debt ceiling deal. Cuts to entitlement programs have been floating for several weeks around the edges of the conversation, but moved to the center of the debate Thursday morning, when a report that Obama would offer to "tackle the rising cost of Social Security" appeared on the front page of the Washington Post. Liberals outside of Congress, however, are wasting no time trying to pop that trial balloon.
Ahead of a meeting with House and Senate leadership, in which President Barack Obama is expected to voice willingness to change entitlement programs, a dozen members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus wrote a letter to the president asking him to refuse cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The president is set to discuss a deal to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for deficit reduction, which could include major cuts to programs that help the elderly and the poor.
"We feel the discussions have been skewed up to this point," said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the caucus, who also said he would not support a final deal if it involves entitlement cuts and does not include revenue-raisers. "It's incumbent upon the president to put what I believe are the real priorities on the table for deficit reduction."
But Grijalva and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a vice chair of the caucus, defended the president for signaling he would be willing to take a look at changes to the programs, arguing there are ways to restructure entitlement spending to save money without hurting beneficiaries.
Other Democrats have made a similar shift over the past two weeks, as lawmakers strain to find a deal that raises revenues while at the same time making spending cuts. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a top message-maker for Senate Democrats, said on June 24 that Democrats would be open to delivery-side reforms to Medicare, which they have previously said should be kept off the table.