Obama’s Power: Dems on deficit committee now want more than $1.5t in cuts

Originally posted at AMERICAblog

There is an emerging consensus amongst the Democrats who will serve on the deficit commission (aka Catfood Commission 2, Electric Class Warfare) that the mandate of $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts is insufficient.

Democrats on the new joint deficit Super Committee will seek more than the $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction they’ve been tasked with finding, in order to help offset some of those costs.“All of us would like to set as a target for ourselves even more than $1.5 trillion,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who’s also the top House Democrat on the Budget Committee, told reporters at a Tuesday Capitol press conference.

For those not paying attention, President Obama (after Warren Buffett said it in his much-linked NYT op-ed) called for the deficit commission to go beyond $1.5 trillion in cuts. The Democrats on the commission, including liberals like Xavier Becerra, have moved to be where the President has been saying the commission should go. When Obama gives a speech tomorrow night (and a subsequent one in following days more specifically about deficit cuts), it will direct Congress as to where he thinks these cuts beyond $1.5 trillion should come from. Sadly, the answer seems to be Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

David Dayen points out that this is a pretty clear rebuttal to the notion that the President is not capable of shaping the course of legislative and policy debates, especially with regard to Congress as a coequal branch of government.

If you listen to [Obama’s] public statements, he clearly wants this tax cut and spending cut agenda to go forward. And now, his Democratic colleagues on the Catfood Commission, even the putatively liberal ones like Xavier Becerra, are mimicking him. That’s because a President has a lot of influence and power.

Take this as a reminder that President Obama is not weak and certainly not dis-empowered from pursuing the agenda he wants to pursue.

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