‘‘Washington’s problem isn’t that it taxes too little, but that it spends too much,’’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. ‘‘But in a good-faith effort to make progress on boosting the economy and government’s long-term solvency, Republicans like me have said for more than a year now that we’re open to new revenue in exchange for meaningful reforms to the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt.’’
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte said in the GOP’s weekly radio address Saturday that ‘‘any effort to address our fiscal crisis without including entitlement reform can’t be taken seriously.’’
No way, say many liberals.
‘‘We’re going to send a loud message to the leadership in the House, in the Senate, and President Obama: ‘Do not cut Social Security, do not cut Medicare, do not cut Medicaid,'’’ said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist who aligns with Democrats. ‘‘Every now and then elections have consequences. We won.’’
Republicans and even some Obama allies worry that liberal demands will make it harder for the president to seal a bargain with the GOP.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said Obama has the same problem with his party’s liberal base that Boehner has with some conservative Republicans. ‘‘Boehner has a disproportionate group of his folks skewing things too far out,’’ Quigley said, ‘‘and the president has equally the same sort of problems with people who are horribly unreasonable.’’