President Obama Announces Near-Agreement On Debt Ceiling
Deal would involve cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and a 'Revenue Component'
President Obama announced this afternoon after talking with Congressional leaders that they are getting close to an agreement that would bring a $3.7 trillion reduction in the nation's debt over 10 years as well as pave the way for Congress to lift the debt ceiling before Treasury defaults on millions of bills.
According to President Obama, the deal would include cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and would increase revenue to the government, though the details on the latter part are fuzzy.
The President said:
"We have a Democratic President and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts, modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component."
It's not entirely clear what "a revenue component" means, but according to The Hill it would involve ending tax breaks and closing tax loopholes. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said that 76% of the debt-reduction deal would involve spending cuts while 26% would involve generating more revenue via taxes.
A little over a week ago, Rep. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) said that the Congressional Black Caucus, for which she's vice-chair, would not vote for any bill that included cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Yesterday, The Loop 21 writer Dr. Jason Johnson said President Obama would cave in to Republicans previous demands that the debt ceiling be raised without a debt reduction plan that included raising taxes.
The agreement isn't yet set in stone. Obama has only said that he likes what he's hearing from the Gang of Six and that their proposal is "broadly consistent with the approach" the President himself urged.
"I want to congratulate the Gang of Six for coming up with a plan that I think is balanced. We just received it, so we haven’t reviewed all the details of it. It would not match perfectly with some of the approaches that we’ve taken, but I think that we’re in the same playing field."
Questions: Are the cuts to social entitlement programs substantiated especially when they outweigh revenue hikes three-to-one? Should the CBC stick to their guns and protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security at all costs? Or, should they, the rest of Congress and Americans get behind this tentative agreement so that we can get the debt ceiling raised?