Obama’s New Budget Is Actually Giving Republicans Exactly What They Asked For In December

Mitch McConnell

The most controversial item in President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget is a plan to change in the cost-of-living increases to Social Security — an idea that Republicans supported during the fiscal cliff negotiations and said could be the prelude to a sweeping budget deal that included new revenues.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes this morning the Republican change in tone on the “chained CPI” compromise since the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner said that Obama should work with Republicans on the reform now, but that he still disagreed with the President on implementing any new taxes. On the Senate floor Tuesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the entitlement reforms in Obama’s budget “modest.”

As Sargent points out, McConnell told the Wall Street Journal in late November that the chained CPI cost-of-living adjustment, means-testing on Medicare premiums, and an increase in the Medicare eligibility age would be the “kinds of things that would get Republicans interested in new revenue.”

Medicare means-testing and chained CPI are two proposals that Obama has embraced throughout the constant series of budget talks.

Republicans would push back on Sargent’s argument with a common refrain — they already agreed to new revenue as part of the deal to avert the fiscal cliff. But the change in tone underscores the risk for Obama in embracing chained CPI as his own — infuriating his own base while still getting nothing in return from Republicans.