Washington Update

Obama Administration Engages in Talks on Replacing the Sequester

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The Obama Administration and eight Republican senators are discussing potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare that could be part of an agreement to replace the automatic spending cuts in the 2011 debt deal (P.L. 112-25).

The group, led by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), met with White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough to discuss entitlement cuts similar to the proposals in the President’s FY14 budget blueprint. Several Republican senators said this week’s talks included a discussion of entitlement cuts: a tighter cost-of-living adjustment, called “Chained Consumer Price Index”, that could raise more than $200 billion over 10 years, and proposals for means-testing for Medicare that would include higher premiums for individuals making more than $85,000 per year (and couples making more than $170,000) that could raise $35 billion over 10 years.

Also, Republicans have discussed their own proposals for Medicare means-testing that could raise additional funds. It is pretty much guaranteed that any proposals to cut social programs’ benefits will face stiff opposition from the Democrats.

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