From the Associated Press, about intra-Democratic disagreement over spending: "There's a growing consensus among Senate Democrats and the White House that Social Security pension benefits should be exempt from any deficit-reduction package. But some centrist Democrats in the Senate argue that fellow Democrats must be willing to consider cuts to Medicare and Medicaid — the government programs providing health care coverage to the elderly and poor — in order to get concessions from Republicans on taxes. 'It has to be both — a significant revenue increase as well as spending cuts,' said Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee."
More: "Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, who is retiring as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said rising health care costs in Medicare and Medicaid are helping to drive future spending, making them an essential part of a long-term deficit-reduction package. 'I've been part of every bipartisan group here. We've always put everything on the table,' Conrad said. 'If you're going to solve this problem, you're going to have to deal with where the spending is and the revenue can be raised."