Democrats aren't happy with the part of President Obama's budget proposal that involves cutting Social Security benefits, but Republican leaders just love it, the Washington Post reports. John Boehner is trying to muffle any GOP criticism of the budget proposal, which is mainly coming from Republican lawmakers in swing districts. And the House is moving to finally begin the debate on reforms to entitlement programs—via two subcommittee hearings this week—a sensitive topic long avoided in favor of debates on the less-touchy areas of taxes and other government spending. House leaders are hoping to come up with bipartisan legislation.
The hearings are framed as discussions on "reforms to protect and preserve programs for retirees." First up for discussion will be Obama's proposal to change the way inflation is measured when calculating Social Security benefits, a move that could save the federal government quite a bit over the long run while cutting benefits by just 0.3 percentage points a year. Also up for discussion: increased Medicare premiums and decreased benefits for seniors who are better off, and a higher eligibility age for Medicare. (Read more Social Security stories.)