Here's one Democratic leader who won't be
listening to Fix the Debt
. Senate majority leader has one word for the idea of trading cuts to entitlements for sequester relief: stupid
. He's particularly not interested in trading away entitlements for ending the next round of sequester cuts which will hit defense spending.
"I would like to suggest that maybe the Republicans aren't too happy with next year's sequestration. Who does it hurt, non-defense? I get an extra billion dollars this year compared to [last] year. Defense? They lose $23 billion," Reid said, referring to the Pentagon. "So I would think there should be some people among the Republicans in the House and Senate who would say we should take a look at that." [...]
Reid also said that he would make sure to protect Social Security against attempts to trade cuts for sequestration relief, calling such a bargain "a stupid trade."
"That's no trade. We are going to affect entitlements so we can increase defense spending? Don't check me for a vote there. I'm not interested in that," he said. [...]
If Republicans want to trim Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, Reid said, they'd have to give on tax revenue in exchange. Asked specifically if the deal must be revenue for entitlements, he said: "Yes, and we call it mandatories."
The part about defense spending will give Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain the vapors. But he's absolutely right. The best way out of the sequester is be willing to let them cut what Republicans most want to protect, and to do it while making sure that the country's most vulnerable citizens aren't put in jeopardy is smart. Not to mention the right thing to do. While arguing that there's anything Democrats would be willing to trade for entitlement cuts is problematic, tax revenue is the one thing Republicans won't go for, even to save defense spending.