Long-simmering tensions between the White House and congressional Democrats on how best to address the country’s debt boiled over Friday, with leaders and rank-and-file members alike fuming at reports that President Obama is mulling cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of a bipartisan debt-limit deal.
“What I’ve heard from people you might not expect to hear it from … is if they bring to the Senate a [deal] that really comes down heavy on working families and children and the elderly and they expect me to matter-of-factly vote for it, they’ll have another thing coming,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Friday morning.
In a Friday afternoon news conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), emerging from what she called a “lively” House Democratic Caucus meeting, declared that Democrats “would not reduce the deficit or subsidize tax cuts for the rich on the backs of America’s seniors.”
But Pelosi appeared to crack the door for a deal after she met with Vice President Biden and President Obama at the White House on Friday.
“I’m still optimistic that we can find a place that we can come together,” she said. “It has to be reflective of our values, because 10 years of a budget has a very serious impact on the future.”
Sanders, one of the Senate’s most liberal members and a vocal opponent of the inclusion of entitlement cuts in any debt-limit deal, spoke out against the proposed cuts on a conference call with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).