President Barack Obama spoke to super committee chairpeople Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jeb Hensarling on Friday to make it clear that he expects the deficit-reduction group to reach it’s mandated $1.2 trillion in cuts by its November 23rd deadline.
In separate calls from Air Force One, Obama added that he would not support modifying the “sequesters” — the mandatory spending cuts that would take effect if the committee fails to reach its goal — putting the screws to Congress to reach its goal in full.
That easy way out has been floated as an option as negotiations for a deal remain stalled — mostly over taxes. The mandatory cuts are particularly painful to the Department of defence, with members of both parties calling them unacceptable, and the Pentagon warning they could jeopardize the department’s readiness.
The president has largely steered clear of the committee since putting forward his recommendations to the committee in September — and he will be out of Washington for the next week and a half as he heads to Hawai’i, Australia, and Indonesia.
The underlying strategy is simple — if an agreement can’t be had, Obama wants to be far removed enough from the process to blame Congress for its failures
The Congressional Budget Office has warned members of the committee that if they want their bill “scored” by the fast-approaching deadline they must give his office enough time to review it, which has been estimated at 7-10 days. With 11 days until the deadline, lawmakers have just days to reach an agreement, with minimal help from Obama pushing the parties closer to a deal.
The clock’s ticking.
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