Yesterday, the Republican leadership insisted there would be no fiscal cliff deal unless there was a cap on cost of living adjustments for social security.
They were adamant - a deal killer.
That was yesterday. By last night, that strong stance had melted like a stick of butter at a midsummer Grant Park picnic.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Social Security cuts are all but off the table. She said that the issue would be "a part of a larger debate," later in 2013 when Congress considers raising the debt-ceiling limit.
"It's safe to say that chained CPI will not be a part of ... [the GOP's] proposal. ... We'll leave that for a later day, which I'm pleased about because I'm not a fan of affecting those currently on Social Security, especially the more elderly," said Snowe.
"There is a realization that that proposal deserves more study," added Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been negotiating since late Friday on a package to avoid the combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January.
On Sunday, the GOP introduced their new demand for including the chained CPI measure. The accounting adjustment would create reductions in some Social Security and other entitlement benefit payments while raising some tax revenue. But Democrats said it was a non-starter this late in negotiations.
Reid took to the Senate floor and said that talks had reached an impasse and that "at this stage we are not able to make a counteroffer."
"We're not going to have any Social Security cuts," Reid added. "It's just doesn't seem appropriate at this time," said Reid.
Multiple GOP senators said a chief sticking point is that Democrats want to use new revenue to replace or delay the sequester, while Republicans want other offsetting spending cuts. But GOP senators said they were abandoning the demand on Social Security to push toward a deal.
In a matter of hours, Republicans went from standing for entitlement reform - however small - to caving in to the Democrats. This, despite the fact that Obama himself supported the idea of chained CPI earlier.
These guys couldn't negotiate their kids' allowance, much less a deal on taxes and spending.