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Will Red State Senate Dems Listen To Unions And Others Demanding No Entitlement Reforms?‏

November 20th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments


While many on the far left are digging in and telling Democrats not to even consider entitlement reform in talks over averting the fiscal cliff, reports today suggest there may be some Democrats who aren’t wedded to massive tax hikes and could be open to entitlement reforms.

The Hill reports today, “President Obama’s allies in the labor movement are targeting centrists in both parties in an attempt to pull the ‘fiscal cliff’ talks to the left. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will launch a series of radio and television ads on Tuesday that urges lawmakers to let the Bush tax rates for the wealthy expire while preserving entitlement benefits. Mary Kusler, NEA’s director of government relations, said the ads will target House Republicans who appear open to raising tax revenue and Senate Democrats who have appeared willing to slash programs like Medicare and Social Security.”

But the AP noted recently that “Obama allies worry that liberal demands will make it harder for the president to seal a bargain with the GOP.” And “Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said Obama has the same problem with his party’s liberal base… ‘and the president has equally the same sort of problems with people who are horribly unreasonable.’”

Are there any Democrats who are willing to set aside “horribly unreasonable” demands from big unions and others on the Left? According to Politico, “Democrats have their own internal issues heading into the high-stakes [fiscal cliff] talks — and they’re not insignificant. . . . [G]etting a deal that raises tax rates for the wealthy may not be so easy for the party, and not just because of inevitable GOP resistance. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will have to find 60 votes to extend just the middle-income tax rates — far from a given when a swath of the Senate’s moderate Democrats are up for reelection in 2014. Reid and the White House will also need to navigate a hardening Democratic divide on entitlements. Progressives don’t want any deep cuts that Republicans will insist on for a deal. But a Third Way poll of 800 Obama voters set for release Tuesday found that efforts to fix Medicare and Social Security enjoy broader support than liberals suggest.”

And Bloomberg News writes, “Senate Democrats, optimistic about prospects for a deficit-reduction deal, may have to contend with wariness from seven members who face 2014 re-election campaigns in states Mitt Romney won Nov. 6. Some of those seven Democrats, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, say they aren’t ready to commit to President Barack Obama’s proposals for boosting tax revenue. Instead, Hagan isn’t ruling out support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. Landrieu said she opposes eliminating tax breaks for oil companies. . . . Pressed on whether she could be persuaded to support the Republican position of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels, Hagan said, ‘I want to look at the whole package, but I definitely want to protect the middle-class taxpayer, first and foremost.’ . . . Besides Hagan and Landrieu, the Democrats up for re- election in 2014 in states Romney won are Alaska’s Mark Begich, Arkansas’s Mark Pryor, South Dakota’s Tim Johnson, West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller and Montana’s Max Baucus.”

Will these rank-and-file Senate Democrats listen to reasonable voices on reform or to unions demanding no entitlement changes and some Democrat leaders cheering the idea of allowing the nation to plunge over the fiscal cliff?

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: 42% Willing To Pay More in Taxes to Balance Budget If Real Spending Cuts Are Made

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