Do Republicans Want To Cut Entitlements? Jim Vandehei Debates

Here’s Jim Vandehei on Morning Joe this morning (emphasis added):

Yeah, I would just replay that clip [Obama talking to Stephanopoulos] over and over and over again, and that tells you everything you need to know about the next year. The president wants tax increases and he, and he does not want to do a bill where there is big changes in entitlement reforms. Republicans don’t want tax increases and they want to do big, they want to do some big changes on entitlements. So, there’s not really a middle ground to be had.

And here’s Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen on Tuesday (emphasis added):

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he can envision such a scenario if Democrats put specific entitlement cuts on the table. But, top House GOP officials tell us that is nuts. The prevailing view among House Republicans is that they have finally won the cuts they spent years fighting for and see little reason to tick off senior voters by cutting entitlements while also ticking off the base with new taxes. In truth, many Republicans aren’t very motivated themselves to start messing with entitlements if they don’t have to.

I’m not entirely certain which interpretation of the standoff is correct, but there’s a big difference here. In one frame, the issue is that the GOP is too intransigent on taxes and the Democrats too intransigent on entitlements to get reform done. In another frame, the issue is that not only is the GOP intransigent on taxes they’re intransigent on taxes in part because they don’t particularly want to get entitlement reform done. Given that the White House has, in fact, repeatedly floated various proposals to cut entitlement spending and even the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House has such proposals the latter view seems somewhat better-grounded to me.