In a press conference today, Nancy Pelosi asserted that “we do not support cuts in benefits to Social Security or Medicare.” She says that the inclusion of them would “compromise support” from Democrats for the debt limit. This matters a little more than you think, because there is a non-trivial faction of House Republicans who will never vote to raise the debt limit no matter what the deal. So the debt limit will need House Democratic support to get increased.
This is why Pelosi was rewarded with a private meeting with the President tomorrow on the debt limit talks.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will meet with President Obama at the White House on Friday to discuss the talks over raising the debt limit, according to a House Democratic aide.
Obama met privately with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last weekend in an effort to advance the debt-ceiling talks, leaving some Democrats anxious that Obama was prioritizing Republican concerns over those of his own party.
The Pelosi meeting is an indication that the White House strategy is broader, with the president fielding concerns from leaders in both parties – individually and in a group setting.
Pelosi was not informed about the idea of including Social Security in the debt limit talks. She did say that chained CPI was not part of the discussion at the meeting today, although pretty much every report about this says that chained CPI is on the table, and is in fact the major change to Social Security in the talks. So maybe she missed that too.
The major point here is that Pelosi has attempted to draw a line in the sand on benefit cuts for seniors. We’ll see if that line in the sand survives the next round of discussions.
UPDATE: This is a theme today. I maintain that I feel a bit more secure that Republicans won’t give on revenue over the notion that Democrats won’t give on the safety net.