Snowe: No Social Security or Medicare cuts in the debt-ceiling deal

posted at 7:38 pm on July 11, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Think Progress, which asks a good question. If Snowe’s serious about a balanced-budget amendment, why rule out a deal on entitlements right now when there’s a tiny (emphasis on “tiny”) bit of political momentum to make big changes to the budget? If she thinks Medicare’s too tough a nut to crack when we’re facing armageddon in three weeks, wait until millions more boomers are on the rolls and she has to deal with cuts every. single. year.

Another good question for you: Where does this leave us vis-a-vis the Lightbringer’s (alleged) proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67? That’s not a cut, strictly speaking, but the outcry will be enormous all the same. Is Snowe open to entitlement reform so long as she doesn’t have to call it a cut or is this a pure “hands off Medicare!” pander to seniors ahead of her reelection campaign next year? If it’s the latter, then any deal involving entitlements would start with just 46 votes in the Senate (assuming Collins and Scott Brown stick with the caucus, which is unlikely). How do they pick up 14 Democrats to beat the filibuster, especially when the DNC’s core campaign message next year will be, er, “hands off Medicare”?

Don’t look for members of Maine’s congressional delegation to support cuts in Social Security or Medicare as part of the debt limit legislation, but all four say a debt reduction package that includes budget cuts and new revenues is likely.

“There are solvency problems with both programs,” Sen. Olympia Snowe said in an interview on Friday, “They have to be addressed but not as part of the debt reduction talks.”

She said any debt reduction plan worked out by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders will still need the support of members of both parties and both Medicare and Social Security have strong bipartisan support…

She said she has no idea what will come out of the budget talks but she believes to get enough votes to pass it will have to have cuts in spending and additional revenue.

She wants to raise revenue by closing loopholes, not raising rates, a plan Collins agrees with. Does Collins also agree that entitlements should be off the table right now? The story doesn’t quote her to that effect but the lede sure makes it sound like it. (And it would be in keeping with her skittishness about Ryan’s Path to Prosperity.) If she’s out too, then we start with 45 votes in the Senate. And if Brown, who also opposes Ryan’s plan and is up for reelection, joins them then we’re at 44. What could go wrong?

Oh, in case you’re wondering how this afternoon’s debt-ceiling meeting went, Chuck Todd tweets, “The two sides are farther apart in debt talks than they have been for a while. Some in talks believe this is going no where. #stalemate?” If that’s the narrative in tomorrow’s papers, Wall Street should have an interesting day. ABC goes behind the scenes:

Boehner said at one point that “it’s clear to all of us how big this spending problem is. Congress keeps voting for programs we can’t pay for. But look, entitlement cuts aren’t easy for us to vote for either. Our guys aren’t cheerleading about cutting entitlements.”

“Your guys already voted for them,” the president said, referring to the budget offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

“Excuse us for trying to lead,” Boehner said…

During another exchange, Republicans were going through proposed tax increases as bad for jobs.

“C’mon, man!” Vice President Biden exclaimed, “let’s get real!”

Cantor’s proposal this afternoon totaled $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, including … $200 billion in Medicare and Medicaid. Where that leaves us vis-a-vis Snowe, Collins, and Brown, I have no idea. The task now is to somehow get to $2.4 trillion, which is the amount they’ll need to raise the debt ceiling by to get through all of next year and beyond the lame duck Congress. Boehner has insisted that total deficit reduction be at least equal to the increase in the debt ceiling, so they need to find $700 billion somewhere. Interestingly, as part of his own Medicare proposal, Obama reportedly wanted $800 billion to $1 trillion in new revenue; if the GOP can get to $700 billion to make this deal, why not try for $800 billion and then call his bluff on Medicare? Make him own that proposal. If nothing else, it’ll be a hedge against Democratic Mediscaring next year.

While you mull, via Bryan Preston, here’s The One flat out admitting today that new taxes are on the way in 2013. Have at it, RNC ad team.

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Snowe, you are only hoping to keep that damn seat. Will Maine wake up and smell what Snowe is burning? It isn’t WOOD!

upinak on July 11, 2011 at 7:40 PM

FAIL!

annoyinglittletwerp on July 11, 2011 at 7:40 PM

There I go “Acting Stupidly” again…

JoePa for POTUS on July 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

the same experts who destroyed this countries finances and looted billions with their sub-prime housing schemes are now saying we have no choice, whatever.

rob verdi on July 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Does she know it snows in Maine?

tarpon on July 11, 2011 at 7:42 PM

She’s all Mavericky.

portlandon on July 11, 2011 at 7:43 PM

CUNNING STUNTS!

400lb Gorilla on July 11, 2011 at 7:43 PM

“When history calls!”

Bumb ditch.

RedNewEnglander on July 11, 2011 at 7:44 PM

While you mull, via Bryan Preston, here’s The One flat out admitting today that new taxes are on the way in 2013. Have at it, RNC ad team.

That was the plan all along.

AUINSC on July 11, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Boehner is getting snippy – me likey

gophergirl on July 11, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Does that mean she’s in favor of repealing Obamacare and the Medicare cuts it contains…

phreshone on July 11, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Boooooooooo!!!!

sbvft contributor on July 11, 2011 at 7:46 PM

The Faire Ladies of Maine; is there anything they can’t do?

slickwillie2001 on July 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM

“Obama: I want to raise taxes after I am re-elected”

Not if I can help it.

“Read my lips, many new taxes” – Dick

Electrongod on July 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM

So tired of this woman. I can’t recall a single major issue that she’s been on the right side in the last several years.

Scrappy on July 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Snowe, you worthless RINO.

rightwingyahooo on July 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Snowe..balls chance in hell!

rjoco1 on July 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

There I go “Acting Stupidly” again…

JoePa for POTUS on July 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

In Snowe’s case-she ain’t acting.
///

annoyinglittletwerp on July 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Nice pictute of the Lee sisters, Ugh and Home.

Wade on July 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Speaking of Republican ads, little Bammies comment that he would rather be working to get the NFL back to playing football than dealing with deficits would make a good one.

slickwillie2001 on July 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Making”cuts” that don’t kick in for years is hardly my idea of “sacrifice.” Anything they agree
on should start immediately.We all know any new “revenues” would start as soon as the ink was dry. I say walk away now Republicans.

sandee on July 11, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Biden “Let’s get real”
Zero ” eat your peas”

I am so glad the adults are in charge to tell us what to do.

Brat4life on July 11, 2011 at 7:50 PM

OK, Mr. Onetermabama,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07m39CQRJXw

pedestrian on July 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Could Boehner call Barry’s bluff and say expiration of Bush tax cuts for Obamacare repeal.

That could make things interesting.

gophergirl on July 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Has anyone defined loophole?

CW on July 11, 2011 at 7:52 PM

The next president will have to deal with entitlements. Obama isn’t interested in doing that, he’s just playing politics to appear “moderate”.

therightwinger on July 11, 2011 at 7:53 PM

She wants to raise revenue by closing loopholes, not raising rates, a plan Collins agrees with.

If we are talking scrapping some deductions and credits, that’s as good as “proper” spending cuts. They are still punks for not considering cuts to entitlements.

Count to 10 on July 11, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Speaking of Republican ads, little Bammies comment that he would rather be working to get the NFL back to playing football than dealing with deficits would make a good one.

slickwillie2001 on July 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

I’ve thought for a long time that the NFL contract issue won’t get solved until Obama is brought is to “get the parties together”… the NFLPA chairman is an Obamatron

phreshone on July 11, 2011 at 7:54 PM

The Maine twins should just switch the R to a D already. Might as well add Brown to the list too. We really can’t rely on them to vote with the republicans when it counts.

Brat4life on July 11, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Has anyone defined loophole?

CW on July 11, 2011 at 7:52 PM

I know what I want it to mean, but that’s no guarantee of, well, anything.

Count to 10 on July 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Ya I second the question to the girls of Maine “What about the 500 billion that obamacare strips from Medicare and goes to new programs to insure 30 million illegals and vagrants?”

tim c on July 11, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Old photo of the two Republicrat witches from Maine.

Hening on July 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Don’t forget Lena Jabroski. She’ll likely flip as well, so that’ll be 4 out of the gate siding with the democrat party.

Maybe Tester, Landrieu, McCaskill, Casey (PA), and Nelson (NE) will flip since they’re up for tough re-election and want to appear more conservative, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

SouthernGent on July 11, 2011 at 7:58 PM

God save us from the blithering idiots. We’re raising the debt $2 billion and change and if we’re lucky they’ll cut $1 billion and change over the next decade. Our children will live in abject poverty in a country as poor as Portugal and Congress has no F-ing clue. Paul Ryan should be president. We need to cut $10 trillion from the budget now, raise the SS age to 70 for everyone, tax everyone the same percentage for FICA for their full income (why should middle class people have to pay FICA on all of their income but the rich don’t), and stop all welfare and medicaid to the children of illegal aliens. Not 10 years from now. Now. Congress spends money like drunken pirates.

fleiter on July 11, 2011 at 7:59 PM

If nothing else, it’ll be a hedge against Democratic Mediscaring next year.

Just like Obama and the Democrats pulling $500 billion out of Medicare was a hedge against Mediscaring on Ryan’s budget, right?

Seriously AP, I wonder how even you, at this point, can doubt the Democrat capacity for doublethink.

apollyonbob on July 11, 2011 at 8:00 PM

So the recession will be over in 2013…woohoo!!!

equanimous on July 11, 2011 at 8:01 PM

“Excuse us for trying to lead,” Boehner said…

Boehner shouls also have pointed out that obakacare has already cut Medicare 500 billion, and the DEMS own that one.

ladyingray on July 11, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Another True Rino reminds us why we hate her. Yay.

Tim_CA on July 11, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Ok so the more I read today the more I realize I’m going to have to go retire somewhere other than here. Yucatan Peninsula looks nice!

scalleywag on July 11, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Repeal Obamacare and a lot of this goes away

Kini on July 11, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Kenites strike again!

True_King on July 11, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Snowe is a RINO’s RINO’s RINO!

pilamaye on July 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Ok so the more I read today the more I realize I’m going to have to go retire somewhere other than here. Yucatan Peninsula looks nice!

scalleywag on July 11, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama maybe as well?

SouthernGent on July 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM

for cripe sakes just change it from a R and to D and get it over with

cmsinaz on July 11, 2011 at 8:17 PM

OT: Bachmann just pwnd the BOR. And, it might’ve been a record where a guest of his show interrupted him more often than he did the guest.

TXUS on July 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM

I’m from Maine. Snowe is up for re-election and there is a great Constitutionalist conservative running in the primary against her. Please support the campaign of Scott D’Amboise!

We actually have a chance to oust the b!tch. However she has the money (and democrats) on her side.

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM

“Excuse us for trying to lead,” Boehner said…

zing!

cmsinaz on July 11, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Biden needs a tie-dye shirt and some longer hair, man. And a robe and slippers.

AshleyTKing on July 11, 2011 at 8:20 PM

gophergirl on July 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM

indeed

cmsinaz on July 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Snowe and Collins are simply a waste of space in Congress…decades past their sell by dates.

JIMV on July 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Does Maine have an open primary system where the D’s can vote in the R’s primary? If so, Scott D’Ambrose has a much higher hill to climb, perhaps a mountain.

TXUS on July 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM

sounds like what we had to deal with, with mccain last year….lots of money on his side…

cmsinaz on July 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Just so I understand, when Bush left office – the deficits were under $500B. Barely, but let’s call it $500B for simple math. BHO’s deficits look like they’re averaging $1.5T the last three years. Maybe slightly less, but use $1.5T – again for simple math.

So, over a 10-yr time frame, BHO is throwing another $10T of “new” deficits at us, and Cantor’s only trying to get $1.7T of it back?!?!? Is this really the GOP’s position on this?!?! Let’s get back 17% of the new spending?!?!

With a GOP like this, who needs enemies… Is the negotiation really that tough?!?

Neo-con Artist on July 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Snowe: 5th column Republican.

AshleyTKing on July 11, 2011 at 8:23 PM

unless the country plans to cut SS and Medicare payments immediately this is just theater…and Snowe is right. We can NOT deal with these things in three weeks…with barry at the helm…acting like a, well, COWBOY

A rational approach is that these programs get “fixed” gradually. Our 1.5T deficit is NOT due to these programs. Oddly, no one seems to ask what is Obama spending the extra money on? He’s 1T above Bush…so where’s the money going. Like O said, it’s already spent…ok..on what?

r keller on July 11, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Lagarde of the IMF has already weighed in – Everyone knows that the international bankers have to be leaning on Obama real hard.

I don’t believe we will go into default – for one thing the sky isn’t falling, but I do think an agreement will be reached. Because it’s one thing to jerk the American people around, and string them along. They figure we’re dumb enough to fall for their theater. But the Internationals, and that includes the investors, financiers have a stake in our economy – one of the reasons we are in the shape we are in.

Obama isn’t going to let up on Congress or Boehner he’s probably been told by the international bankers it needs settled. The Republicans are in better shape than they think – Obama and the Democrats might not be willing to deal because of domestic politics. I doubt the folks who are lending us money, and investing in our country, and are effected by what our economy produces etc…are going to care if the Democrats have to lose political points. To get the economy everyone else depends on – ball moving down the field again.

Are the Maine twins up for reelection next year? The two dears look like they could use some leisure time to put their feet up, and scroll through the help wanted ads :)

Dr Evil on July 11, 2011 at 8:28 PM

“Your guys already voted for them,” the president said, referring to the budget offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

“Excuse us for trying to lead,” Boehner said…

Does Obama know what that is?

Chip on July 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Color me surprised – NOT!!! How long will it take the GOP, especially Cornyn in the Senate, to realize that Snowe and Collins are closet Democrats?

Their only purpose in the Senate is to present a bipartisan farcade to any far-left proposal from Dems. These ones never tire of signing on to liberal legislation and talk of it being historic. But conservative policies are always a no-starter for them and they will do everything they can to undermine those policies.

TheRightMan on July 11, 2011 at 8:36 PM

TXUS on July 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM

No, we don’t have that kind of primary.

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Just remember, it’s better to have sqishy Republicans who will at least support us on right to life issues … well, I mean at least on securing our borders and … of course the one thing we can all agree on which is financial issues …

Wait, what?

hawkdriver on July 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I’m sorry and this might sound simplistic but, too often, we let vernacular slide by without awareness of the presumptive effect it can have on the listener.

What, exactly, do “tax loophole” and “tax break” mean?

If a tax break means not paying taxes on some certain income, then everyone in America gets a “tax break” if they take the standard deduction, itemize deductions, or make so little that they pay no taxes at all on their income.

Every person’s and every company’s “effective tax rate” is made up of earnings level, bracket, deductions, exclusions… the total composite of their tax picture.

Claiming that corporations are getting a “tax break” to buy jets (a specious class-mongering attempt in the first place suggesting that all our problems are due to rich people getting to keep far too much of their money) is ridiculous. It’s no more a “tax break” than depreciation is. Charitable contribution deduction. Medical expense deduction. You name it.

The effective federal & state corporate tax rate (effective tax rate, no matter what you call it) is on a par with Japan’s and higher than every other modern economy.

If corporations keep getting all these “tax breaks” and we don’t start closing all these “loopholes” they’re all going to go out of business. Or, move.

IndieDogg on July 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Snowe and Collins need to be shown the door.

How’s that “Stimulus” you voted for working out ladies?

Do us all a favor. RESIGN!

GarandFan on July 11, 2011 at 8:50 PM

hawkdriver on July 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

heh

:)

cmsinaz on July 11, 2011 at 8:53 PM

No Social Security or Medicare cuts in the debt-ceiling deal

Then it’s all smoke and mirrors (except for the Brobdingnagian tax increase-during a depression yet-which those morons will attempt.)

MaiDee on July 11, 2011 at 8:57 PM

How about free rhinoplasty? Would you go for it then?

Mason on July 11, 2011 at 8:58 PM

::sigh::

tx2654 on July 11, 2011 at 9:02 PM

No, we don’t have that kind of primary.

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Good, Scott will soon be receiving the maximum allowed fed contribution from me. I’m an ABO kind of guy … Anyone But Obama, Anyone But Olympia.

TXUS on July 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Just remember, it’s better to have sqishy Republicans who will at least support us on right to life issues … well, I mean at least on securing our borders and … of course the one thing we can all agree on which is financial issues …

Wait, what?

hawkdriver on July 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

GOP Establishment: Err… we meant to say “it’s better to have sqishy Republicans…” irrespective of their ideology. Majority control and committee chairmanships are so important for our lobbyist friends, you see? As for the country, well… it can wait.

TheRightMan on July 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Cantor’s proposal this afternoon totaled $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years…

Ok, see even *this* is unserious.

Even *if* the GOP win and hold the line, we’re still ph00ked.

The deficit increased by how much in each of the last 3 years? And the GOP is trying to get the fed to cut that much… over 10 years? The deficit will go UP by 10 times that much in 10 years, guys.

Um, seriously – why bother? May as well go whole hog liberal, join in with them, increase spending by 200%, turn on the printing presses, and watch the whole thing melt down faster, thereby getting us back to reality faster – because that meltdown is coming.

This things out of control going downhill at 200mph and the GOP’s trying to slow it down to 190. Good heavens.

Midas on July 11, 2011 at 9:09 PM

OT: Bachmann just pwnd the BOR. And, it might’ve been a record where a guest of his show interrupted him more often than he did the guest.

TXUS on July 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM

I wish folks would take a much more aggressive approach with BOR’s bloviating and interruptions. No one likes it and no one does anything about it.

slickwillie2001 on July 11, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Good, Scott will soon be receiving the maximum allowed fed contribution from me. I’m an ABO kind of guy … Anyone But Obama, Anyone But Olympia.

TXUS on July 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Great! And spread the word, please. He’s getting support from the Tea Party and the Tea Party Express. But obviously, the liberal Maine GOP stands firm behind snowejob.

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 9:21 PM

California has the worst 2 US Senators…

Maine is a close second…

Khun Joe on July 11, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Support Scott D’Amboise campaign against Snowe in the 2012 primary. Here’s his site:

http://www.damboiseforsenate.com

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 9:23 PM

And Scott’s on Facebook. He’s very accessible and will take all the support he can muster.

ErinF on July 11, 2011 at 9:24 PM

“One thing about a Maine politician…they know what a manure spreader is for.”

Maine Humorist Joe Perham

Del Dolemonte on July 11, 2011 at 9:31 PM

RINO

casey92 on July 11, 2011 at 11:50 PM

Does she really think that merely closing loopholes will raise the 50% more revenue we need beyond the existing entitlements? Even if we cut discretionary spending by 50%, we will still need 25% more revenue to balance the budget than we are obtaining now?

What kind of Republican says that certain Government programs must remain unaltered — particularly the Ponzi scheme ones?

unclesmrgol on July 12, 2011 at 1:21 AM

Reputed fiscal conservative Olympia Snowe…

(No such thing.)

Axeman on July 12, 2011 at 8:24 AM

The Return of the Nitwit Sisters!

Jaibones on July 12, 2011 at 8:37 AM

Just go away, go make some pickle bread.

nimrod on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 AM