Congress aiming low in new budget talks, as Reid dismisses entitlement reform as ‘happy talk’

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from FoxNews,

Congressional Democrats and Republicans are setting low expectations about budget talks scheduled to begin next week — with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissing as ‘happy talk’ any notion of a grand bargain that would include cuts to entitlement programs.

The Nevada Democrat won’t be directly involved in the formal House-Senate budget negotiations set to begin Wednesday. But he has been among the most overt in blaming the opposite party — even before the talks begin. And he has given perhaps the bleakest assessment for a potential compromise on tax increases and cuts to entitlement spending.

“You keep talking about Medicare and Social Security,” Reid said on Thursday, cutting off a Nevada Public Radio host. “Get something else in your brain. Stop talking about that. … There is not going to be a grand bargain.”

He also said Republicans would have to agree on tax-revenue increases for Congress to achieve a large-scale agreement, but they instead have their mind set on “nothing more on revenue.”

“And until they get off that kick, there’s not going to be a grand bargain,” Reid said. “There’s not going to be a small bargain.

“If we focus on some big, grand bargain then we’re going to focus on our differences, and both sides are going to require that the other side compromises some core principle and then we’ll get nothing done,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Ryan, his party’s vice presidential nominee a year ago, and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., are two of the key congressional figures in the talks.

They have already talked informally and say they’re seeking “common ground” between the sharply different Republican and Democratic budgets.

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