Quote of the Day: It Takes Two to Tango

Quote of the Day: It Takes Two to Tango


“It’s only fair to have both revenue and expenditures on the table. The last time there was a fix to Social Security that addressed the solvency for 75 years, it was Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill, and it was bipartisan. It had revenue measures and it had program reforms. That’s just the reality.”

— Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas, the Republican chair of the House Budget Committee, speaking to Semafor about his push for a bipartisan fiscal commission tasked with improving the nation’s fiscal outlook. The Budget Committee in January advanced a bill that would do just that and the idea of a commission has gained some momentum in Washington, but there is also resistance from lawmakers in both parties. Some Democrats are concerned that the commission would simply provide cover for those who want to cut Social Security and Medicare, while most Republicans remain categorically opposed to increasing revenues through tax hikes, a likely component of any bipartisan plan.

Arrington made it clear that, in his view, Republicans will have to abandon their opposition to all tax increases if they want to help shore up popular federal programs including Social Security, which faces a revenue shortfall in about 10 years. “Without discussing the revenue side, you will never have a commission and you will never have Democrats show up for a consensus solution,” he said. “The only other alternative is you’re going to have to have an 11th-hour deal when the roof is going to cave in on those programs.”

Rep. Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat on the Budget Committee who voted against the bill, said he doesn’t doubt that supporters of the commission are genuine, but he does question whether a bipartisan solution is possible at this point, given the reigning political orthodoxies. “I believe they’re well-intentioned. I honestly do,” he told Semafor. “They’re very sincere. I just know the Republican Party in 2024 is not about to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, whether a commission says they should do it or not.”