By Mike Lillis - 07/12/11 05:54 PM EDT
"Democrats have said that everything needs to be on the table, and have put everything on the table," Hoyer said Monday.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus and a prominent opponent of Social Security cuts, said Tuesday that Obama's willingness to consider all options is just a part of the process.
"We understand what the president's trying to do," Becerra said. "He's trying to get the Republicans to sit down and negotiate in good faith. If it requires talking about everything, we've been, from the beginning, ready to discuss that."
Still, Becerra also implied that he won't support any entitlement benefit cuts in a debt-limit package. He noted that Democrats, as part of the new healthcare reform law, already enacted roughly $500 billion in Medicare cuts without eroding program benefits.
"We found ways going after some of the excess, the waste, the replication of services in Medicare, to make sure that we could take away [costs] from Medicare without taking away from benefits," Becerra said. "Why should Medicare face cuts that go to benefits when we've already put $500 billion in savings on the table?"