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Obama’s budget plan limits his bargaining power

April 13, 2013 • Business


House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, holds a copy of President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal book as he questions Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 12, 2013, as Sebelius testified before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the HHS fiscal 2014 budget request. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s budget overtures to Republicans may limit his bargaining power if the GOP ever returns to the negotiating table on a grand deficit-reduction deal.

In essence, Obama’s spending blueprint is a final offer, a no-budge budget whose central elements have failed to persuade Republicans in the past.

By voluntarily putting entitlement cuts on the table, particularly a proposal to slow the rise of Social Security benefits, Obama has no other gambit to win tax increases from Republicans.

With many Democrats balking at what he’s already offering, it’s not politically feasible for him to offer the GOP anything more.

Puzzled Democrats maintain that Obama not only has given away his leverage, he also has threatened the very identity of his party, which sees the Social Security Act of 1935 as one of its signature achievements.

“If he’s trying to do it to show he is forthcoming as a negotiator, then why doesn’t he wait until he gets to the negotiating table?” said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J. “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that politically this is not a winner. Our brand is the party that Login to read more

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