Key question in budget battle: Obama's flexibility

Even if Obama were to acquiesce on revenues, he’d have trouble persuading Senate Democrats to go along, a dynamic the president acknowledged in his answer to Corker, Republican senators said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Democratic leaders refuse to trade sequestration cuts, which will disproportionately hit the Pentagon budget next year, for cuts to other discretionary or mandatory spending programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid — unless Republicans agree to raise revenue…

Asked if the president insisted on revenue during the White House meeting, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said: “There was much said but no definitive answer.”

“The president has been clear that any budget solution must have balance, which is why he has proposed a way to replace the sequester and achieve even more deficit reduction through a mix of revenues, targeted spending cuts and savings in entitlement programs,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said. “As the conference begins its work, the president will continue to insist that they are focusing on growing our economy and creating good jobs with good wages, because we can’t cut our way to prosperity.”