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Chuck Schumer
Sen. Chuck Schumer, scheming away on Medicare, Social Security
Earlier, Jed Lewison exposed the strategy of House Republicans' "newfound enthusiasm for sequestration." They're looking for leverage to force entitlement cuts and by refusing to raise a stink about the across-the-board cuts to defense and non-entitlement domestic spending, they think they can force a swap of equivalent cuts in other programs from a White House and Senate that doesn't want the defense cuts.

Enter Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is creating a Senate blueprint for a budget.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist, sees a joint budget resolution between the Senate and House as the key to raising another $600 billion in new tax revenues. [...]

The biggest obstacle will be getting House Republicans to sign on to any joint agreement that sets a target for raising taxes. [...]

The joint budget resolution could also call for Medicare reforms and using the chained CPI formula to curb the cost of Social Security benefits. These entitlement reforms combined with tax reform would give Republicans political cover to accept tax increases—or at least more cover than if tax increases were merely packaged as an offset to the sequester.

There you go. Is the Republican strategy to try to create leverage for entitlement cuts a pipe dream? Not when Democrats keep offering them up as deal sweeteners. So far, it's just been the insanity of an extreme Republican House that's too distracted by trying blow things up to recognize when the Democrats are giving them a big, juicy, gift. We can't count on that forever, particularly when Democrats seem just so eager to trade the important shit away.

5:08 PM PT: The article in The Hill has been updated with this:

Schumer’s office does not support the idea of fast-tracking Medicare cuts or the chained-CPI formula for Social Security through a budget resolution, proposals that Republicans would likely support. A Schumer aide noted that a reconciliation package could not make cuts to Social Security. This raises the prospect that 60 votes would be needed to waive a budgetary point-of-order objection raised against any reconciliation package reforming Social Security.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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