Will Democrats lose their edge & momentum if Obama cuts Medicare & Social Security substantially in debt talks?

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Previously, the initial discussions on the debt ceiling that were being led by Vice President Joe Biden called for roughly $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as over $1 trillion in other spending cuts.

Reports in other papers today, such as the Wall Street Journal, report that Obama officials were saying Wednesday that the two sides could reach a deal that cuts the deficit by $4 trillion over at least 10 years, something the Republicans have been shooting for.

The difference now is that the Republicans (finally) are said to be ready to agree to "scaling" back some tax breaks - which is hardly the same thing as tax increases, which of course the Republicans as a national party say they will never do (or just those that sign that Grover Norquist pledge).

Are the Democrats willing to abide by major cuts in Medicare and Medicaid? Check out this quote in the Post:

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

Minnesota House Democrat Keith Ellison, a member of the party's Progressive Caucus, says he won't go for that. He made those comments Thursday morning on Morning Joe.

What about Castor and others in the party? As everyone realizes, the pressure is on to get a deal with the next couple of weeks. If it goes down as its being reported in today's major national dailies, it appears that, like last December, despite the fact that Democrats still control the Senate and the White House, the Republicans may have again gotten the better deal.

  • Kathy Castor

Democrats in Florida have been on a bit of a roll in 2011 - mainly because of the major dissatisfaction in Governor Rick Scott. Their base has been energized locally and nationally, mainly due to the overall opposition to the House Republican plan that would dismantle Medicare.

A Public Policy Polling institute survey released Wednesday showed that in Florida, 40 percent oppose the Ryan plan, with just 24 percent supporting it.

Republicans and members of the media who speak with Democrats who condemn the Ryan plan have asked them:what are you going to do about Medicare, which is growing insolvent in the coming years.

Democrats (such as Kathy Castor) have countered that the health care reform plan of 2010 deals with that - but what will they say in the immediate future, depending on what happens as President Obama meets with top House and Senate leaders today in Washington to get serious about crafting a plan to deal with the debt ceiling?

The Washington Post reports that when Obama sits down with those officials today, he is considering a plan that plan that would "force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue."

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