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Sen. Dick Durbin spoke with Greg Sargent on Tuesday, and told him that he and other Senate Democrats are opposed to the inclusion of the chained CPI, the new consumer price index proposal for Social Security and other federal beneficiaries, in the fiscal cliff curb deal.
In an interview with me this morning, Senator Dick Durbin, a top ally of the White House, told me he opposes including Chained CPI for Social Security in the final deal. He said it would be difficult for Democrats to support Chained CPI for Social Security if it ended up in the deal, though he said it was premature to say anything definitive about how they would vote.

“We ought to deal with Social Security in a separate conversation that is not part of deficit reduction,” Durbin told me. “To do it at this stage is the wrong way to go.” [...]

“The Speaker and many of his Republican friends are hell bent on Chained CPI,” Durbin continued. “It may be part of an overall solution [later] but to do it at this stage is the wrong way to go.”

Durbin pointedly said that it would be a “hard ask” for many Senate Dems if the White House includes Chained CPI for Social Security in a final deal. But Durbin declined to rule out the possibility that Senate Democrats would ultimately support it if the White House insisted on it.

The Republicans are hell bent on chained CPI? Perhaps, but the first time we heard about it was when it was offered up by the White House last year in debt ceiling negotiations. The Republicans might be hell bent for it, but President Obama sure doesn't seem to have a serious problem with it. And one way or another, it seems he's going to get it. If it doesn't happen in this deal, he's setting up—and Durbin is acceding to in this very interview—future Social Security "reforms" that will almost assuredly include it.

That's unless we can achieve the level of opposition to this proposal that we managed in the proposed Medicare benefit cut, raising the eligibility age. That trial balloon was blown completely out of the air through vocal and constant opposition, not just from liberals but from, well, just about everybody in public opinion polls. We need to do it again with this Social Security cut.

Tell President Obama to take Social Security cuts off the table, in current and in future negotiations.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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