Sen. John Kerry has expressed frustration about the debt negotiations.
Senate Democrats have noticed that the president is dealing directly with House Republicans to reach a debt ceiling deal, one that may include trillions in cuts to Social Security and Medicare without any tax increases, and they’re not happy. Politico reports on the fireworks directed at President Obama’s budget director Thursday:
At the Democratic Caucus lunch, senators like Kerry and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) stood up and lashed out at [Obama’s budget director Jack] Lew, telling him that the White House must only settle for a “balanced” package with new revenue raisers — especially if it was open to cutting cherished entitlement programs.
At the meeting, Lew danced around the idea of including spending cuts worth $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion, prompting “disgust” from Democrats who were not prepared to let Obama “sell out” their caucus, a Senate Democratic source later said.
“Separate negotiations with Boehner don’t work,” Mikulski said afterward. “It has to be us. … Whatever it is, there has to be the lifting of the debt ceiling, not holding us hostage to negotiations, and it has to include revenues. And they’ve got to do it now.”