Obama won't call for Social Security cuts in deficit speech

President Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress, Sept. 8, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
President Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress
President Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress, Sept. 8, 2011.

Though he floated the idea a few months ago of changing the way Social Security benefits are calculated, President Obama will not call for any changes in the retirement program when he makes his recommendations for deficit reduction next week.

White House press spokesperson Amy Brundage says that the president "does not believe that Social Security is a driver of our near and medium term deficits," and that he's asking both parties to work together to strengthen the system.

In his discussions with House Speaker John Boehner this past summer about raising the debt ceiling, one of the possibilities the president discussed was changing the formula by which Social Security payments are increased for inflation. Using what's called the Chained Consumer Price Index rather than the standard CPI would result in slightly lower increases for inflation because the Chained CPI assumes that if prices rise, consumers will buy cheaper products.

That the president even entertained the idea changes to Social Security upset many Democrats. Now the Social Security program has become an issue in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination - and the White House appears to want to avoid getting into the argument.

White House officials won't say whether Mr. Obama's deficit-cutting recommendations to the congressional "super committee" might include cuts in Medicare. He will unveil them in a speech next Monday.

CBSNews.com special report: America's debt battle

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent