“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”
President Obama has been determined to effect an increase in the debt ceiling, but that hasn't been his only goal. The President sees cutting Social Security benefits- unrelated to the debt- and "reductions in Medicare spending" as part of the Grand Bargain he needs to be the transformative president he yearns to be.
It's hard to believe that Republicans would be averse to poking holes in the social safety net of elderly Americans. If given a chance to eliminate Social Security and Medicare (let alone Medicaid, which helps poor Americans) with no adverse reaction from the voters, the GOP would jump at it. No- they did happily try, when the House passed the Ryan Medicare Elimination Budget.
But the second ranking Republican in the Senate, Arizona's Jon Kyl, today conceded on ABC's "This Week" (transcript, with comment on page 4, here) with Christiane Amanpour
Republican leaders have made it clear that, if all else fails, if our efforts to adopt legislation to cut the deficit, put a straightjacket on it and balance the budget -- the so-called, cut, cap and balance -- I think that passes the House. But if that doesn't pass the Senate and if there is no other way to reach some kind of savings agreement then, at the end of the day, Republican leaders have made it clear that we will not be the ones who put the government into default.
It is unlikely that GOP scheme will pass the Senate; nevertheless, Kyl believes "at the end of the day, Republican leaders have made it clear that we will not be the ones who put the government into default." And the context makes clear that he was making no distinction between default and passing on raising the debt ceiling.
The real GOP base, corporate America, has made it clear: raise the debt ceiling. On July 13 The Daily Beast reported