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Obama budget takes heat from all quarters (+video)

Republicans reject any new taxes. Liberals say they'll fight any changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs. Does the Obama administration have any room to maneuver?

By Staff writer / April 7, 2013

President Obama and White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer react to a reporter's question as they leave the Treasury Department in January. Mr. Pfeiffer warned Republicans Sunday that a 'my way or the highway' approach would spell the GOP's defeat in upcoming budget negotiations, and he told Democratic allies that they, too, will have to bend on Obama's delayed spending plan set to be released this week.

Charles Dharapak/AP


Does President Obama’s budget have a snowball’s chance in Hades?

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He’ll submit his administration’s budget for the fiscal year beginning in October on Wednesday, and based on leaked details it’s getting largely negative reviews.

House Speaker John Boehner has rejected it because it includes new revenues, meaning some new taxes on the wealthy. Mr. Obama’s liberal base promises to block any cuts in entitlements – in particular, a revised inflation adjustment for Social Security known as "chained CPI." 

"There are nuggets of his budget that I think are optimistic." Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday – the only praise, however lukewarm, heard from a Republican.

"The president is showing a little bit of leg here, this is somewhat encouraging," said Senator Graham. "He has sort of made a step forward in the entitlement-reform process."

"He showed some leadership," Graham added. "That puts the burden on us."

Which is exactly what Obama’s liberal base fears, a fact all too clear to the White House, which sought to clarify its position Sunday.

"This chained CPI that’s being referred to here, it is something the president will only accept on two conditions," senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “This Week.” "One, it’s part of a balanced package that includes closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest, and two, that it has protections for the most vulnerable, including the oldest seniors."

On Wednesday – the day he officially unveils his budget for fiscal year 2014 – Obama will dine with a dozen Republican senators.

"The president's focus, in addition to the regular order process that members of Congress say they want, is to try to find a caucus of common sense, folks who are willing to compromise, that don't think compromise is a dirty word, and try to get something done," Mr. Pfeiffer said Sunday on "This Week.”

But Obama might want to schedule a meal with liberal lawmakers and pundits as well.


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