Warner breaks with some Dems, says he's fine with chained CPI in deficit deal

Warner called for a large-scale plan that totaled at least $4 trillion. President Obama and Boehner are still negotiating a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, which will happen in January when the Bush-era tax rates expire and sequestration takes effect. 

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Because a deal has not been reached, Boehner submitted a plan to the House that would permanently extend the Bush-era tax rate for those making less than $1 million and to replace some of the sequester cuts to the military. Democrats have called that plan unacceptable because they want tax rates to increase on the top 2 percent of taxpayers — those making more than $250,000 a year.

Warner said Obama has been the only one at the table who has been truly willing to come to the middle. He cited the president’s willingness to work on entitlement reform something Republicans have called for. 

“The president gets this and he knows we can’t kick the can down the road,” Warner said. “He said he’s been open to entitlement reforms … but once even mentioned, progressive groups have said that any change to Social Security or Medicare … anything as sinister as a chained CPI can’t be part of it.”

Warner said he disagreed with liberal groups trying to portray a chained CPI for Social Security as “sinister.” He admitted that the inflation measurement system wasn’t perfect, but was necessary to ensure the solvency of Social Security.

Warner said some in his party have distorted the negative effect a chained CPI would have. He said it would decrease Social Security payment increases for inflation by only .3 percent.

“It surprises me that those in my own party who come to the floor to call out those who deny climate change, also deny the math of entitlement costs,” Warner said. “A chained CPI provides an unbiased assessment of inflation … it’s not perfect but no measure is … [but] it provides saving across the budget and raises revenues.”

Warner said other, more progressive, reforms to Social Security need to be considered as well, including raising the payroll tax cap.

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