if not higher rates, on the negotiating table.
Also on Tuesday, Dick Durbin, a senior Senate Democrat and close Obama ally, urged fellow liberals to consider reforming Medicare and Medicaid, signaling possible compromise in an area where Democrats have steadfastly resisted change.
Progressives should be willing to talk about ways to ensure the long-term viability of Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly and poor, Durbin said in excerpts from a speech.
But he added that Medicare and Medicaid should not be part of the current negotiations on averting the fiscal cliff. On that front, Durbin stood firmly with Obama, urging extension of middle-class tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans.