Reason’s Peter Suderman makes a good point about how slick the White House’s messaging on the budget has been: they’ve been able to portray themselves in the press as trying to meet the Republicans halfway without actually offering anything new in their latest proposal.
So is the White House really making a meaningful effort to reach a compromise with this new budget? To answer in the affirmative, you have see some value in rehashing old policy offers. As the [New York] Times notes, the White House’s offer here is basically just a rehash of what it’s offered before. All the entitlement changes the administration has highlighted that could be considered compromises are policy ideas we’ve seen the administration put on the table before: The White House has previously indicated its willingness to accept reforms to Social Security’s benefits calculations, to negotiate lower prices to drug companies and change the way Medicare pays for prescription medications for seniors also eligible for Medicaid. These aren’t necessarily bad policies, but they also aren’t really new offers, so the administration’s affirmation that it is still willing to accept policies it previously said it would consider does not count for all that much.
Meanwhile, the administration has in recent months pulled back on entitlement changes it once said it would consider: Multiple reports have indicated that the White House has at various times said it might agree to raising Medicare’s eligibility age; that policy not only didn’t make it into the budget, it has been yanked from consideration entirely. And in February, the administration said that Medicaid reductions it once said it would discuss were no longer on the table. Despite what the messaging of the last few days has suggested, the White House isn’t really expanding what it’s willing to do to reach a deal with Republicans; if anything it is narrowing its list of acceptable compromises.