“If there’s going to be any cuts and savings in Social Security it will be kept in Social Security so that the program will last longer,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “It isn’t as if we are going to transfer money out of Social Security to cover our budget needs.”
Congress finally agreed on a permanent change to Medicare payments to doctors in the spring after such an agreement eluded them since the 90s, raising hopes among Republicans that entitlements would again be on the table this fall. And, for the budding budget talks, the problem with avoiding entitlements is it creates much less incentive for fiscal conservatives to go along with a budget deal, Republican senators said.
“We’ve got to get into mandatory spending, those are the cuts, the savings that stick. And most of us would trade higher discretionary spending to do it,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Instead Democrats are open to revenue raisers like spectrum sales or the grab bag of money in the Senate-passed highway bill. But Republicans said Thursday that they were unlikely to raid the carefully crafted transportation bill to pay for other domestic spending.