Obama summed up the main priority of the Republicans on Meet the Press today:
I offered not only a trillion dollars in– over a trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next 10 years, but these changes would result in even more savings in the next 10 years. And would solve our deficit problem for a decade. They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.
Turns out they have a second priority, cutting Social Security benefits:
Negotiations to reach a last-ditch agreement to head off large tax increases and sweeping spending cuts in the new year broke down, at least temporarily, on Sunday after Republicans requested that a deal include a new way of calculating inflation that would lower payments to beneficiaries programs like Social Security and slow their growth.
Disagreement over Social Security is being called a major setback in the fiscal cliff negotiations today.
Update: Republicans appear to have taken Social Security cuts off the table for now. While they might not demand these cuts as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations they do plan to bring this up again in 2013.