Meet the Press   |  April 07, 2013

Graham: Obama budget has some good ‘nuggets’

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., tells David Gregory that President Obama’s budget will not pass, but some pieces on entitlement reform show he’s willing to work with the GOP.

Share This:

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

>> i have a couple seconds left with you, senator graham, and i want to talk about immigration and the budget. do you think that the president's framework that he announced, including change cpi , a gradual way to cut social security benefits, is a good-faith effort on his part? do you think he can actually win some new revenues as a budget deal by doing it?

>> there are nuggets of his budget i think are optimistic. it's overall a bad plan for the economy, but when you look at cpi , we're beginning to set the stage for the grand bargain. harmonize social security with medicare. in return flat ep the tax code , generate about $600 billion of revenue. and if you look at these changes over 30 years, this $4 tril wron to $5 trillion in savings. i'm looking at the biggest spending cut in history by reforming entitlements and the president is showing a little bit of leg here. this is encouraging. his overall budget is not going to make it but he has made a step forward to then titlement reform process that would allow a guy like me to talk about flattening the tax code .

>> do you think a grand bargain is possible by july?

>> i think if you do immigration and the grand bargain this year will dominate the 21st century , yes. the key to the grand bargain is can we solve immigration? if we can in a bipartisan fashion fix a broken system to regain our lost sovereignty, control who comes to the country, who gets a job, a robust temporary worker program and as to republicans the politics of self-deportation are behind us. mitt romney is a good man. he ran in many ways a good campaign, but it was in a practical solution, quite frankly. it was offensive. every corner of the republican party from libertarians, the rnc, house republicans and the rank and file republican party member is now understanding there has to be an earned pathway to citizenship. that gives us leverage on immigration with our democratic friends.

>> i want to follow that on a second but i want to full up -- you're putting new revenue, as a republican, on the table.

>> if we do substantial entitlement reform that will save $4 trillion to $5 tril trillion --

>> what the president is talking about in your view substantial?

>> this is a step in the right direction, but harmonizing the age for retirement, means testing both programs, cpi adjustments gets you pretty much where you need to go.

>> the republican leader of the senate there yet?

>> well, i can tell you this, that the republican party would benefit as well as the democratic party from saving the american economy from becoming greece. if the president will lead on this, and he showed some leadership, no democrat will get to his right. nobody is going to adjust the age for retirement if the president doesn't embrace it. nobody is going to adjust cpi if the president doesn't embrace it, so he's showing some signs of leadership that's been lacking. i'm encouraged and that puts the burden on us to do the same thing. i think we will.