WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama assured House Democrats Thursday he won’t slash Social Security and Medicare, moments after he reaffirmed his commitment to entitlement reform in a meeting with Senate Republicans.
Obama sat down with Democrats in late afternoon, just after he emerged from a 90-minute face-to-face with Republicans in the upper chamber, where his willingness to cut entitlement spending dominated the conversation. House Democrats hadn’t seen the reports of what Obama discussed with the Senate GOP — they were reacting instead, they told reporters after the meeting, to reports about the president restating his support for a grand bargain with Republicans that includes so-called chained CPI and other cuts to Medicare.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Mich.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was first to ask Obama about chained CPI, a way of calculating the consumer price index that would decrease monthly payments to Social Security recipients. Ellison, one of the strongest opponents of the Social Security benefit cut, was soon joined by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who also expressed concerns to the president.