Another issue that has caused disagreement regarding the negotiations over the fiscal cliff has surfaced. Jay Carney the spokesman for the White House said on Tuesday that the issue of Social Security cannot be discussed in the talks about the fiscal cliff and must be addressed as a separate issue.
Carney said the drivers of the federal deficit had to be addressed and Social Security is not one of those drivers. The retirement program for seniors will be solvent for 21 more years. At that time, recipients might be faced with receiving less benefits.
The Senate’s number two Democrat, Richard Durbin from Illinois took a similar position on Sunday saying Social Security does not add anything to the debt, not one cent.
However, Republicans insist that reforming all the entitlement programs, and they include Social Security, which amounts to over 1/3 of all government spending, must be included in the fiscal cliff equation if the Republicans are to go along with increasing revenue through limiting loopholes and tax deductions.
Lindsey Graham and South Carolina Republican Senator said entitlement reform could not be looked at without adjusting the retirement age. He does not expect Democrats to go for a voucher plan or premium support, but did expect them to make adjustments to certain entitlement programs prior to bankrupting the country.
Mitch McConnell the Republican Leader of the Senate put the onus on President Obama to meet in the middle with the Republicans. McConnell said the Republicans had been clear in what they wanted and what they are willing to do and yet there remains an impasse.