Several Democratic senators are separating themselves from their leadership and encouraging President Obama to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age in order to keep the entitlement solvent.
Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen.Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with the Democrats, are all openly calling for reform, and making it plain that the party is disunited on the issue when a titanic debate over debt is gathering momentum.
Senate Republicans, unsurprisingly, are sounding supportive notes:
Three Republican senators on Wednesday will propose a Social Security reform package that would raise the retirement age to 70 and cut benefits for the wealthy.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) previewed their proposal on Fox News, saying that it will put the entitlement program on a long-term path to solvency without raising taxes.
These Senators shouldn't hold their breath. A White House "fact sheet" released in advance of the president's debt speech wraps any discussion of near-term changes Social Security -- and its 18 Trillion in unfunded liabilities -- in a cold, wet blanket:
Social Security: The President does notbelieve that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near-termdeficit problems.
The fact sheet goes on to offer vague support for future, bipartisan efforts to tweak the entitlement program, but its opening salvo stating that Social Security is not in crisis indicates that the White House does not consider reform to be a priority.