Budget Priorities

At a White House press conference Tuesday, President Obama told reporters a debt commission he appointed had offered a "framework" for discussions of structural changes to major federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare, the two biggest items in the federal budget.  Sanders has strongly opposed what he called the "draconian cuts" proposed by the commission.   During a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders questioned White House budget director Jacob Lew about the administration's efforts to compromise in addressing the nation's budget deficit.  Sanders pressed: "Is the ‘framework for a conversation' cutting benefits for younger workers?"  The OMB director only committed to not "slash" benefits, like Social Security, for future beneficiaries, but did not take cuts off the table.  "If Social Security has not contributed one nickel to the deficit, why are we looking at it in the context of deficit reduction?" Sanders asked.  Lew agreed that it should not be looked at in that context.

The senator also questioned the administration's belief that they will be able to end tax breaks for the wealthy when they were unable to do so when they enjoyed greater support in Congress then they do today.  "Why do you have any belief whatsoever... that these tax breaks will be terminated when Republicans who are adamantly for these tax breaks are in power?"