November 28th, 2012

Sen. Durbin: Leave entitlements to long term negotiations

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) tells CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that entitlement programs should not be on the negotiating table to avoid the fiscal cliff and “mandatory spending cuts in other areas” and tax revenue are the best options. When O’Brien asks how he can assure entitlement programs will be reformed after the fiscal cliff negotiations, Sen. Durbin says that she has “a right to be skeptical.”

Sen. Durbin says, “The Social Security is a separate thing. It does not add a penny to the debt. We should deal with its long term survival and solvency. We can do that in a separate setting other than this last minute fiscal cliff negotiation. I will put Medicare into the long term negotiation here because, as I said, it runs out of money in 12 years.”

He adds, “What we need to put on the table in short term is actual deficit reduction. We can do that through mandatory spending cuts in other areas. We can do it through the tax revenue that the President has called for. I think, for instance, if the Speaker of the House decided today to call the measure passed by the bipartisan Senate to protect all families making $250,000 or less from any income tax increase, December 31, that would put enough revenue on the front end of this conversation to move us toward a solution.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9a ET on CNN.