Senate on record opposing use of chained CPI

President Obama has put the new method, known as chained consumer price index, on the table in deficit talks with Republicans. Using it reduces entitlement benefits like Social Security over time and also raises revenues by reducing the value of tax breaks. 

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The vote on the amendment was by voice vote, so its usefulness in quantifying Senate opposition to the proposal is minimal. The amendment is non-binding because it is attached to the budget resolution, which does not have the force of law. 

Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTo break the corporate tax logjam, tax overinflated CEO pay Will Pence primary Trump — and win? Grassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa MORE (I-Vt.), Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinEx-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa We need a voting rights workaround Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits MORE (D-Iowa), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation Biden's misinformation crackdown spotlights partisan divide on content reform Number of nonwhite Democratic Senate staffers ticks up from 2020 MORE (D-Hawaii) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseKavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers blast FBI's Kavanaugh investigation as 'sham' New York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  MORE (D-R.I.) sponsored the amendment.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor Bipartisan group to issue 'promising' statement on infrastructure path forward First responders shouldn't have to tackle tigers MORE (R-N.C.) said he supported protecting veterans, but supported using chained CPI elsewhere.

“I support chained CPI, just like the president when it comes to entitlement reform,” he said.

Sanders pushed for a roll call vote, but was talked out of it by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up Sunday shows preview: As delta variant spreads, US leaders raise concerns MORE (D-Wash.).

The Senate then voted on a proposal by Burr to create a new barrier to any proposal to raise taxes on veterans. The Murray budget calls for $1 trillion in new tax revenue and raising that amount--or any amount in the individual tax code--could effectively be blocked by the Burr provision, Democrats argued. 

The Burr amendment was voted not germane to the bill by a 45 to 54 vote. 

The powerful seniors lobbying group AARP hailed the vote.

“With the adoption of Senator Sanders’ amendment, the Senate makes clear the need to protect retirees, veterans and others from an unwarranted cut to their benefits. Much more than a mere technical adjustment or a ‘tweak,’ the chained CPI would, over the next ten years, take a combined $146 billion out of the pockets of America’s veterans and seniors who are already living on tight budgets," it said in a statement.

--This report was updated at 10:29 p.m.