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By CNN’S Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) - It was sort of lost in the headlines, but Democratic members of the so-called super committee proposed some major changes in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending – something Democrats in general strongly oppose.
As part of their effort to revive the failed Barack Obama-John Boehner budget negotiations of earlier this year, the super committee Democrats put forward a $3 trillion package in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.
That package included about $1.2 trillion in tax increases – a nonstarter as far as the Republicans are concerned. They oppose any tax hikes and have made it clear during the past 24 hours that they reject this latest Democratic offer.
Also included in this week’s Democratic plan were some other ideas that President Obama put forward in April just before his talks with Boehner collapsed.
At the time, Obama proposed saving at least $200 billion in Medicare over 10 years and another $100 billion in Medicaid. The president also proposed changing the way the government considers annual entitlement cost-of-living increases, which would have amounted to smaller Social Security checks. And finally, Obama was open to the possibility of increasing Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 67.
Democratic members of the super committee say they did not support increasing the Medicare eligibility age in their latest offer to the Republicans.
What they do say, though, is that any cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid spending would have to be balanced by at least some tax increases on the rich. That would be necessary to mollify the Democratic base, which opposes tinkering with entitlement spending for seniors, the poor and the middle class.
The six Democratic and six Republican members of the committee have until November 23 to come up with a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion over ten years. Congress would then have until December 23 to approve the plan. If that doesn’t happen, across the board budget cuts would be triggered, including domestic and Pentagon spending.
I haven’t given up hope yet on a deal among the 12 members of the panel, but I am becoming increasingly gloomy.