Insiders: Outlook for Entitlement Reform Fair At Best
While the budget debate rages in Washington, Members of Congress are not optimistic that entitlement reform will be part of the equation for reigning in the federal debt--at least not in the near term--according to this week's National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll.
|What do you think the prospects are for significant entitlement reform in this Congress?|
While a plurality of Republican Congressional Insiders surveyed said that they thought chances were "fair" that entitlement reform might occur in this current Congress, and another 14 percent said they were "good," some of those GOP Members offered the caveat that it would only happen if President Obama provided leadership on the issue. "Thus far, it's been missing," said one Republican Member.
That was a common refrain among the sizeable chunk of GOP Congressional Insiders who said the odds for entitlement reform were "poor" or nonexistent. "By not including entitlement reform in his budget, the President made it abundantly clear he is not serious about deficit reduction, only political calculations," said a GOP Congressional Insider. Another added, "The question is when House Republicans offer entitlement reform solutions with their budget proposal, will he engage or stick to sidelines?"
While Republicans could hardly be described as hopeful, Democratic Congressional Insiders were very pessimistic that entitlement reform was forthcoming. They blamed Republican intransigence for dim prospects. "It all depends on whether Republicans are willing to come to the table and negotiate in good faith and on behalf of the people," said one Democrat. "We can't get it done if they're wedded to their Tea Party mantra but only serve corporate interests." Another echoed, "Right now there is no interest among the House Republicans in actually leading or governing. So long as we have divided government at the national level, we won't see reform without compromise and cooperation."