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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 5th, 2013
07:44 PM ET

White House defends budget, says compromise was "necessary to break the gridlock"

The president is planning to deliver his budget next week, about two months late. And some of the numbers have some heads scratching: $1.8 trillion in savings over 10 years, $600 billion in new revenue, which Republicans will say is code for higher taxes, $400 billion in savings to Medicare, and using what's called "chained CPI" to adjust Social Security benefits

Chained CPI is basically changing the way the government accounts for cost of living adjustments to Social Security and other benefits. That means your benefit increase could be smaller, saving the government money.

This has some supporters of the president up in arms. They say it takes money away from the people who need it most.

Progressive group MoveOn put out a statement calling the Obama administration's proposed cuts to Social Security unconscionable.

The White House responded to the criticism, saying compromises were necessary to break the gridlock with Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"One of the things that Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell have said were necessary to break the gridlock, they have asked for, is this change in CPI. And the president has been willing to agree to that as part of an overall agreement that would do things like protect Medicaid, that would protect the core benefit of Medicare," said Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy.

"The president has been very clear the whole time that if we're going to make this correction to the CPI, even though it might involve being more technically accurate, we understand that it is - that it has to be applied everywhere," added Sperling. "It's not targeted at Social Security. It applies to all programs. It's applies to how we index our tax revenues. And he has said it has to have protections in for older Social Security recipients, for those who are most vulnerable."

For more of our interview with the White House's Gene Sperling, click on the video above.

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