President Obama’s openness to Social Security cuts as part of a sweeping budget package has put Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a tough spot.
The minority leader is straddling the gulf between a Democratic president who’s been willing to shrink pay hikes under the popular retirement program for the sake of a bipartisan deficit deal, and numerous liberals in her caucus who are fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent that change.
The issue has left Pelosi with at least three balls in the air.
First, she wants to keep a united front in the high-stakes budget battle with Obama, who has backed a less generous formula for inflationary adjustments to Social Security benefits in exchange for more tax revenue from Republicans.
Second, she wants to defend the views of her caucus, who largely oppose any change in the formula for calculating those benefits, particularly since it could hurt poor seniors who rely on Social Security for their everyday needs.