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Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
House leadership right on script.
Republicans are proceeding exactly as could be expected on President Obama's proposed Social Security cuts. First, they condemn him for "trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors," and then taking up the cuts and pushing for much more.
This week, two House subcommittees plan to hold hearings on “reforms to protect and preserve” programs for retirees, starting with Obama’s proposal to apply a less generous measure of inflation to annual increases in Social Security benefits.

Also on the table are higher Medicare premiums and reduced benefits for better-off seniors, and a higher Medicare eligibility age.

Both means testing for Medicare and the eligibility age have been on offer in previous negotiations, so Republicans will happily go there now. Boehner has already dismissed the Social Security cuts as "modest." Obama's offer of Social Security cuts is just the starting point for negotiations as far as they're concerned. As usual. That's how it's worked every time Obama has begun the negotiations on Republican grounds.

But the White House and Democrats shouldn't be comforted by the fact that Republicans have embraced the cuts, because that's not going to prevent Republicans from running against Democrats on "trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors." We've seen this game before with the "$700 billion in Medicare cuts" that Republicans hammered Democrats with while voting for those same cuts in the Ryan budget. That's what they do.

Democrats have one real choice, both on policy and political grounds. Reject the cuts.

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Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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