Republicans now see that chained CPI is a non-starter.
The cut that GOP leaders had proposed — picking up on a now-defunct offer from President Barack Obama — involved basing Social Security cost-of-living adjustments on a chained consumer price index (CPI), which grows more slowly than current measures of inflation and therefore would give seniors less in benefits as time went on.
But Senate Republicans realized in a caucus meeting Sunday afternoon that the idea was a loser for now, even if they might return to it in reaching a larger deal later on.
“CPI has to be off the table because it’s not a winning argument to say benefits for seniors versus tax breaks for rich people,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “We need to take CPI off the table — that’s not part of the negotiations — because we can’t win an argument that has Social Security for seniors versus taxes for the rich.”