Analysis: Sen. Warner Proposes Decoupling Social Security From Deficit Reduction | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Analysis: Sen. Warner Proposes Decoupling Social Security From Deficit Reduction

Play associated audio

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill move toward negotiations on federal spending cuts and expiration on tax cuts, one big question is the possibility of entitlement reform. Today, a social security policy idea from Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) received some attention. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin endorsed the idea, saying entitlement reform should not be included in a debt reduction deal. Alex Bolton, senior staff writer for The Hill newspaper, has more on this development.

What is Sen. Warner proposing?

"He's proposing setting up a commission that meets every 10 years to take a look at Social Security. He says it's not going to be as formal as the Simpson-Bowles commission or the deficit reduction commission that President Obama put together. Rather, it's going to be a collection of wise men and women, as he terms it. People who will take a look at Social Security every 10 years to see whether it can be solvent for the next 75 years... if this group met and determined that 75-year solvency would not be achievable, then they would propose some reforms to achieve that benchmark."

How likely is it that Social Security will be included in debt reduction talks?

"Warner's idea is gaining some attention now because there is no interest on the Democratic side in implementing Social Security reforms before the end of this year or as part of the deficit reduction talks next year. What Harry Reid has said for months now is that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit, so it should not be part of broader deficit reduction talks. The drivers of the debt are, he argues, Medicare and defense spending and the low tax rate. And now President Obama has joined Harry Reid... So in the absence of any work on Social Security in the next few weeks, Warner's idea is gaining some currency.

How do Republicans approach the topic of Social Security?

Republicans say that Social Security needs to be addressed now. Mitch McConnell said that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid all need to be addressed now as part of a deficit reduction deal. They say that if they agree to raise taxes, there needs to be meaningful entitlement reform and they would like to see Social Security included.

How much support do you think the idea from Warner will gather?

"It got a shout-out from Dick Durbin today, who gave a speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It also gained some support in the Gang of Six... This is one of the ideas that was found to be popular in that group.

NPR

Author Asks Why WWI Genocide Still Splits Turks And Armenians

As a child, Armenian-American writer Meline Toumani was taught to see Turks as a bitter enemy. She wrote her new book, There Was and There Was Not, in an effort to understand that conflict.
NPR

Nutmeg Spice Has A Secret Story That Isn't So Nice

Nutmeg is a feel-good holiday spice. But it once caused serious bloodshed and may have even been a reason the Dutch were willing to part with Manhattan in the 1600s.
WAMU 88.5

Special Prosecutors Should Handle Civilian Shootings By Police, Holmes Norton Says

Norton says mayors and governors could stem anger over civilian shootings by police by appointing special prosecutors to handle them.
NPR

North Korea Says U.S. Caused Internet Outages

Pyongyang has accused President Obama of "reckless words and deeds" and said the U.S. is "playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.