Washington Beat: President Leans Into GOP As Sequester Nears
President Obama took to his bully pulpit Tuesday morning and urged Congress to strike a deal that would avoid $85 billion in automatic spending cuts from taking effect in about 10 days. Washington Bureau Reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report.
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President Barack Obama did not mince words Tuesday, looking to place the blame for the deadlock squarely on Republicans.
Surrounded by first responders, the president said a series of automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, would result in layoffs that would lead to diminished public safety and government services.
The president once again said the sequester can be avoided if Republicans agree to a plan that includes raising taxes on the wealthy.
"Republicans in Congress face a simple choice. Are they willing to compromise, to protect vital investments in education, health care and national security and all the jobs that depend on them, or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest of Americans and corporations," Obama said.
Republicans, at this point, say they refuse to reduce the deficit by closing loopholes on the wealthy unless tax rates are reduced.
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner said, "Once again, the president offered no credible plan that can pass Congress - only more calls for higher taxes. Just last month, the president got his higher taxes on the wealthy, and he’s already back for more."
Earlier today, the bipartisan deficit cutting duo of Simpson and Bowles came out with a new plan that would reduce the deficit by $2.4 trillion over 10 years through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.
They said that even if the sequester takes effect in 10 days, it might not last long once the public starts feeling the impact.
The sequester is scheduled to take effect a week from Friday. With Congress out on recess this entire week, it's looking more and more likely that those automatic spending cuts will take effect.