The powerful seniors lobby AARP on Friday warned the leaders of the newly formed congressional budget conference committee to stay away from Social Security and Medicare.

The warning letter comes despite strong indications that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are shying away from any “grand bargain” on entitlements and taxes.

Ryan and Murray are trying at a minimum to replace all or part of the sequester’s $91 billion in cuts to discretionary spending that are hitting agency operating budgets this fiscal year. Both have talked about cutting mandatory spending, too, a category that includes entitlements. The conference committee is trying to forge a deal by Dec. 13 so a government spending bill can be drawn up by Jan. 15, when another shutdown looms.

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