Reid testily refuses to answer questions on debt, social security
July 7th, 2011
12:26 PM ET
3 years ago

Reid testily refuses to answer questions on debt, social security

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid testily declined to answer a CNN reporter's question Thursday about reports that President Obama is considering changes to Social Security as part of a large debt reduction deal - something Reid for months has passionately vowed to prevent.

"I'm going to the White House now, I'm not making any statement now," Reid said as he departed Capitol Hill for a key meeting on the debt with the president and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.

When the reporter followed up, Reid cut him off. "Did you hear what I said? I'm not going to say anything," he said.

The Social Security issue is sensitive for Reid and many Democrats because they argue the program does not contribute to the deficit and therefore should not be part of any debt reduction deal.

Sources tell CNN that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, are considering changes to Social Security in exchange for GOP concessions on tax increases - something most Republicans are reluctant to support.

Reid will not hold a press conference after the meeting either, his office said.


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans won't be satisfied until there is no Middle Class and Aparthied is in place; read about Aparthied and compare what the Republicans are doing using their political power.

    July 7, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS

    It's a tough pill to swallow Sen. Reid. Social Security is solvent for the next 2-3 decades and i don't think that it should be touched at all. However, I'm not shocked that the fascists republican regime will want cuts from Social Security. My mother told me 20 years ago that eventually Social Security will be phased out and that's the path we're heading down. Giving more of our hard earned money to Wall St. to gamble with to invest in 401K plans and IRAs.

    July 7, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. The Other Michael in Houston

    Senator Reid.......HUH? Social Security does not contribuate to the defecit???? Oh really????? Let see here, please correct me if I am wrong people, the amount of people drawing Social Security exceeds the amount of people paying into Social Security, so the difference has to come from somewhere, correct. I personally will never need Social Security, so this is easy for me to say but, yes Social Security and Medicare need massive overhauls. Back away from the keyboards tree huggers, I am not talking about the Ryan Plan, that is a very idiotic plan that will only band aid the problem. I am talking about real reform. First and foremost, no one who is not a naturalized citizen should be able to use and Social Security program. Period. No this is not a cry against undocumented people in the United States, this is a real problem, especially here in Texas and other border states like Michigan (Hispanics are not the ony group of undocumented people in our country, Canadians are runnuning rampide in the northern border states but because they are white, peopl emake the assumption that they are American, trust me I use to date one). Senator Reid, you are sounding as stupid as the Republicans who say the economy was great between 2000 and 2008.

    July 7, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Which part of "no comment" was not understood? I think it should be up to the host to make the first comments after the meetings.
    ====================
    "The Social Security issue is sensitive for Reid and many Democrats because they argue the program does not contribute to the deficit and therefore should not be part of any debt reduction deal."
    --------------
    That is 100% true. Read the Social Security act of 1935 some time. The problem is that section 201 allows for money to be withdrawn provided, "Such investment may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States or in obligations guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the United States." Reagan used that argument to justify raiding the fund to pay for some of his tax cuts. He had argued at the time that the increased revenue from new jobs would more than make up for the funds being withdrawn. Critics had argued that it would take more jobs than we had in America at the time to make up the difference.

    July 7, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. diridi

    Just fight back with GOP thugs....Democrats....nation needs to be give first....do not cut Social Security, and Medicare....Raise taxes on Corporate thugs, Oil thugs, etc, good luck....my vote for you, democrats...Obama2012....We are watching very closely.....GOP thugs game is over....Obama, if needed impose Emergency in America....o.k, save poor and needy....god bless....Obama2012......

    July 7, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. gt

    this is a time reid needs to be honest with the american people and so does the other 99 other senators .. do whats best for america not your party... we can handel it ...

    July 7, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. beevee

    it is time of 'test of wills' between president Obama and the GOP leadership. If the president caves in to every demand of the republican leadership and they get their way, many americans may consider him weak and hink that the republicans have a better argument about debt ceiling. The president should stand stand firm on his ideas even it means a stalemate. I hope he listens to what president Clinton has said recently. Do not cave into these republican leadeship who are puppets of big business in the country.

    July 7, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    The Social Security issue is sensitive for Reid and many Democrats because they argue the program does not contribute to the deficit and therefore should not be part of any debt reduction deal.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Isn't it easy for Demcratic politicians to compartmentalize entitlement costs when it is convenient. Don't get me wrong. Wouldn't it be lovely for everyone to collect Social Security when we turn 50? Who wouldn't want that? I think it would be great. But the reality is that the government is spending more than it can realistically take in and so it needs to reduce it's costs. American people and businesses are taxed too heavily already, especially at the high end so that is not the problem. These choices will be much easier when spending is brought back in line.

    July 7, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. obama victim

    REPUBLICANS 1......reid/pelosi 0

    July 7, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Marko

    The Democrats should hold firm on raising the taxes on the upper income folks. Shut it all down if they have too. Enough is enough. Do not touch Social Security. That is all this is about. The old rich are still mad that the middle class got all that wealth through the New Deal and are determined to get it back.

    July 7, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Marko

    This is the difference between a Democrat and a republican. The Democrat will at least throw a bone to the people. The republicans will then complain that there was still just a little bit of meat left on that bone and proceed to go get the bone back. The bone then never returns to the people.

    July 7, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. R

    @ Claudia – you might want to read about Aparthied is reallly spelled – it's Apartheid.

    Honestly, why does Reid even care. Like all other politicians, he will get his golden parachute when he retires and think nothing else about us or the ones that voted him in. I don't see any of them (CEO's and the like included) electing to take any paycuts or reduction of benefits.

    July 7, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. ConservaFASCISTS

    Four and the Door said......American people and businesses are taxed too heavily already, especially at the high end so that is not the problem.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Are you at the high end of the spectrum? How would you know what they get taxed? The reality here is that wages for the middle class haven't gone up. Oh, I take that back. They went up 1% over the last 20 years while wages for the top 2% who you are referring to, there wages went up 83%. See the disparity. The middle class is T.E.A., not the wealthy. Especially when you have billionaires such as Warren Buffet who say they don't need a tax break.

    July 7, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Laverne

    I don't know how the republicans think we can work towards budgeting or reducing deficits solely on the backs of the middle class. Talk about being unpatriotic, it is a ridiculous arguement. Furthermore, to much given, much is expected or required. It is amazing how they invoke biblical scriptures only when convenient for them.

    July 7, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Four wrote:
    Isn't it easy for Demcratic politicians to compartmentalize entitlement costs when it is convenient.
    --------------
    Read the Social Security Act of 1935 some time when it is convenient. The reality is that the government is spending more than it takes in on these programs is because we have fewer contributors per beneficiary.

    Question: What caused The Great Recession of 2007? The one that ran for 18 months and ended in June 2009. Don't forget that it was a global recession, too.

    July 7, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. LR Bryan

    It's not Dems fault they don't understand the math involved in the problems facing SS. Most were educated in public schools by teachers hired under affirmative action programs.
    When SS was put into place there were nearly 20 workers paying in for every 1 drawing benefits. Now that ratio is 3 to 1. When SS started, the average life expectancy was lower than the eligibility age of 65. Now the average life expectancy is around 78.
    SS is little more than a Ponzi/Pyramid scheme pulled on the American wage earner by both parties.

    July 7, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    @Four:
    Did you know that almost half of our annual deficit comes from decreased revenues from lost jobs. Most of the rest can attributed to the Bush Tax Cuts.

    July 7, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. A Kickin` Donkey

    Social security, Medicare and all other government "defined benefit" programs should

    a) have eligibility raised slight
    b) be ditributed based on means testing
    c) in no way alter benefits for people over 42 years old, and
    d) be bolstered by Clinton-era tax rates.

    In `98, `99, `00, the United States ran RECORD surpluses of $88B, $122B and $230B. This was BEFORE Republican / Bush tax cuts.

    Do the math!

    July 7, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Peggy - TX

    It was stated earlier that “The government is spending more than it can realistically take in and so it needs to reduce it's costs.” No this is one more bold face lie. Although, lies do not get any truer by just repeating them, but much like Hitler discovered, they may help sway stupid people to vote against their self interest.

    The hard cold fact is that we no not have a spending problem, we have both a revenue problem and that is health care cost are out of control.

    The extremely wealthy are not paying their fair share. They want to skim the cream from the milk, but they do not want to feed the cow. A few individuals are accumulating a large portion of the wealth of this nation and although Capitalism is a good thing in general, the result of a fastly diminishing middle class is that our Capitalist system is getting too top heavy to be sustainable.

    Also, the current health care system allows individuals and companies to gain great wealth from the health care system that is excessively large when compared to the value of the health care treatments – Government must intervene and not just a little, but a large overhaul is needed – time to talk about a single payer system.

    July 7, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    The Other Michael wrote:
    Let see here, please correct me if I am wrong people, the amount of people drawing Social Security exceeds the amount of people paying into Social Security, so the difference has to come from somewhere, correct.
    --------------
    Incorrect. We still have more contributors than recipients. The problem is that the ratio has been cut by more than half.

    July 7, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. cindy

    There is a big difference in doing away with and revamping social security, medicare and medicaid. Just like there is a big difference in closing loopholes and revamping the tax codes. Put the ideas on the table and discuss them and see if it works. doing something-besides playing the blame game-is better than nothing.

    July 7, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. John K.

    DEMOCRATS,
    How does it feel now that the Tea Party is now driving the agenda of this country? You remember the Tea Party, don't you? You called them ignorant racists. I call them financially responsible.

    July 7, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Mike

    Is compromise really that bad. Social Security and Medicare have significant flaws. Our tax code that gives these lavish breaks and loopholes for the uuber wealthy is flawed. Make the tough choices and fix the problem. This is why we need term limits. Get the career politicians out of office so they can actually get a fair deal done.

    July 7, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. Oprah's Mooseknuckle

    The Republicans are eating their lunch. The Dems are caving more and more each day. They know it and their demeanors tells the rest of the world that they know it. And, of course, all the liberal lemmings on this site are sore losers about it. Boo f-ing hoo. At least we are moving toward fiscal responsibility. Another 20 years of this and we might have a balanced budget and solvent economy.

    July 7, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    It will take me almost 10 years TO COLLECT WHAT I PUT INTO SOCIAL SECURITY. How am I a burden on others? Maybe some of the republicans that get "free money" (no taxes or social security paid on it) are the ones draining the system.

    July 7, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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