Alex Witt   |  April 06, 2013

President Obama's calculation for compromise in proposed budget

David Nakamura from The Washington Post and Lauren Fox from U.S. News & World Report discuss the budget battle in Congress.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> joining me now, white house reporter forle " washington post ," david knack myrnakamura and lauren fox. with a good day to the both of you. ladies first here because the president is saying that his ideal budget is not this, but this is a compromise. so what do you think his calculation is here?

>> i think what we saw yesterday was some of the democrats were very upset, a little surprised by the president's budget, and i think that's a good sign if the president views this as a compromise. if this wasn't a serious negotiation, then democrats would not have been sup jet by it. they would have been cheering on the president. congressman chris van hollen , who has been very supportive of the white house , said he's a little nervous about the president's procedure here. he's worried the president's opening offer may be viewed as that, an opening offer instead of an end game . it will be interesting to see whether republicans buy this as an end game or whether they're going to try to keep getting the president to negotiate on some of these other plans that he's involved in its budget.

>> okay. david , a couple of the key points here, let's go through them one by one. first up, smaller cost of living adjustments to social security . then $400 billion in cuts to medicare by reducing payments to the health care providers. we have a payroll tax hike on high-income medicare beneficiaries, and a new tobacco tax to pay for a universal pre-k program. david , it's a mix of cuts, also tax hikes. is it the easiest sell to the public for the white house ?

>> yeah. the white house had a choice to make. they could lay out a grand vision of where the president would go in a perfect liberal democratic world. they said, no, we're going to take another tact which is we've already negotiated with congress, with speaker boehner just a few months ago on the fiscal cliff right before the new year, and we laid out a number of offers. they didn't get taken, but it would be pointless to sort of put forth a budget that didn't take that into reality. that's the white house 's idea is that, you know, let's make sure that it's in the budget as a baseline. lauren is right though, the president has been criticized in the past for moving to the middle too quickly and giving up a lot of ground before the negotiations even start. so i think that's the nervous part. bernie sanders , an independent who caucuses with democrats in the senate, was very upset about the president sort of agreeing to already lower the cost of living adjustment for seniors on their social security . it's something that democrats hold dear. but republicans are saying we need tough cuts. the president now is going to be able to say i'm making the tough cuts but look at my other praepales. we want to raise taxes to help out. this is the best play for a grand bargain.

>> so there is the framework here as you're saying for a grand bargain, but the time table for that is what? how do you see that playing out?

>> i think you're going to see this basically be negotiated as part of the next go-around with the debt ceiling increase. we all remember a couple years ago, this has been an ongoing issue, but the debt ceiling is going to expire in the summer, and i think you're going to see this budget talks begin now and advance until this deadline that's going to come in the summer when the nation's credit will be at risk again, and they're basically going to see if they can get some sort of grand bargain or smaller bargain to get us past the next deadline. the problem is and the president himself says we keep lurching from crisis to crisis. they would like to lay out a longer term program to reduce deficit and invest in the future but they haven't had a lot of success so far.

>> guys, lots of movement on gun control this week. lauren , the president is heading now to connecticut on monday to push the senate to act on new gun control measures. do you think it's risky for him politically to keep pressing this if nothing greater than universal background checks can get passed?

>> you know, i don't think it's risky for the president. universal background checks is his best hope. he's not going to get more than universal background checks . so it doesn't hurt him politically to be stumping for this issue. this is something that the president has continued to say. newtown was one of the worst days of his presidency. he cares deeply about this issue. it's a little politically vul they aer inable for some of the democrats up for re-election. some people in montana, in arkansas, it may be a risky negotiation to keep pushing on this issue. but for the president i think this is something he holds dear and he's going to keep pushing on.