Liberals Are Steamed —and It Matters

Progressives in Congress could scotch debt deal: Nate Silver
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2011 7:29 PM CDT
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., listens as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

(Newser) – We won't know for a while what, if any, deal will emerge on the debt ceiling. Or what, if anything, that might mean for Social Security and other entitlement programs. But this much is clear: Liberals are livid that President Obama even raised the possibility of touching them, reports the Los Angeles Times. Two examples from today: Sen. Bernie Sanders reminded all that then-candidate Obama rebuffed John McCain's proposal to hit Social Security. "The American people expect the president to keep his word," said Sanders., meanwhile, warned that Obama would have trouble drumming up volunteers for his 2012 run if he didn't keep that promise.

Negotiators better not dismiss such opposition, writes Nate Silver at the New York Times. The debt deal vote is a rare instance in the 112th Congress in which the liberal vote could sway the outcome. John Boehner will have trouble enough getting a majority of Republicans to approve any deal. By Silver's reckoning, he also will need at least 12 of the 80 or so members of the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus to go along. That makes a big deal on entitlement programs unlikely. In this case, "the views of liberal Democrats are far more than a token issue."

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