President Barack Obama will formally ask Congress today to avoid the looming across-the-board spending cuts of the sequester set to start kicking in March 1, The White House said this morning.Obama will make a statement at the White House at 1:15 p.m. today, urging Congress to avoid the sequester with a short-term plan that involves “tens of billions” of dollars in spending cuts and tax revenue.
The cuts of the sequester are expected to amount to $1.2 trillion over 10 years — including $85.3 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone. Last week, the White House slammed the possible implementation of the cuts — which House Republicans have become more willing to do lately — as “bad policy.”
“The fact is the sequester was designed — defence cuts, nondefense cuts, half and half; both of them onerous, both of them bad policy — specifically to compel Congress to avoid the implementation of the sequester by doing the responsible thing and coming up with $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction in a balanced and appropriate way,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week.
Boehner immediately pushed back at reports that the President would look for new revenue in a deal to avert the sequester.
“President Obama first proposed the sequester and insisted it become law,” Boehner said in a statement provided by his office.
“Republicans have twice voted to replace these arbitrary cuts with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national defence. We believe there is a better way to reduce the deficit, but Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes. The President’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years.”
An aide to House Speaker John Boehner slammed Obama’s planned statement on Twitter:
Don’t look now, America, but your president is proposing yet another “short-term fix” for the economy and the spending problem.
— David Schnittger (@OhSchnitt) February 5, 2013
The White House has frequently said that it doesn’t want the cuts. At a presidential debate in October, President Barack Obama firmly declared that sequestration “would not happen.”
Sequestration would force the Pentagon to slash spending 16.3 per cent across the board in fiscal year 2013 alone. Last week, a surprising GDP report that showed the economy shrinking for the first time in three years blamed a 22 per cent reduction in military spending.
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