President Barack Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach a deal to avoid $85 billion in automatic spending cuts from taking effect Friday. At a hastily-called press conference, the president took on the GOP, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Washington D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
With automatic spending cuts about to kick in, President Barack Obama met with top Democrats and Republicans Friday morning. But when they emerged after just about an hour, they were no closer to an agreement.
"The only thing we've seen from Republicans so far, in terms of proposals, is to replace these arbitrary cuts with an even worse set of arbitrary cuts," Obama said.
The across-the-board cuts, known as the sequester, are now taking effect, and each side is pointing fingers.
The president blames Republicans.
"They're allowing these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit," Obama said.
House Speaker John Boehner said the president got more than his share of tax increases from the fiscal cliff deal.
"This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over," Boehner said.
The president said the cuts will cause harm to the public, and he is defending himself against a swipe Mayor Michael Bloomberg took at him earlier this week.
"There's a lot of posturing, 'I'm going to lay off my employees today unless you do something,'" the mayor said.
"The notion that my school on my children on an army base might be disrupted because Congress didn't act is an impact," Obama said. "Mayor Bloomberg and others may not feel that impact. I suspect they won't. But that family will."
There is hopeful news, though. It appears Republicans and Democrats may be closer to avoiding the next potential fiscal crisis: a government shutdown at the end of the month.
Boehner said the House will take up a bill next week to fund government past the end of March.
"I'm hopeful we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time," Boehner said.
"There's no reason why we should have another crisis by shutting the government down in addition to these arbitrary spending cuts," Obama said.
For now, though, those spending cuts are here to stay.