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'Chained CPI' Gone for Now, but Likely to Rear Up Again

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Reid makes his way to a meeting of the Senate Democratic Conference as Congress continues a weekend session in hope of agreeing on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

But for leading liberals in the Senate, such as Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Bernard Sanders of Vermont, it’s nothing more than a benefit cut to pay for more tax cuts. Any deal that includes Social Security cuts will lose Democratic votes as a result. Still, the odds remain high that the proposal will soon become law; if not in this package then in a bipartisan package in a few months to extend the debt ceiling.

With Obama having already walked away from the other headline benefit cut he tentatively backed during the 2011 grand bargain talks — raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 — the chained CPI is the biggest remaining trophy he has left to offer up to the GOP in any long-term deal.

Emily Holden and David Harrision contributed to this report.

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