Cuts in place, Obama and GOP brace for next fight

Associated Press

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday after a meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders before billions of dollars in mandatory budget cuts were to start. The meeting — lasting less than an hour — yielded no immediate results.

WASHINGTON — Severe spending cuts now the law of the land, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans refused Saturday to concede any culpability for failing to stave off what both parties acknowledged was a foolhardy way to slash $85 billion in federal spending.

The still-fragile economy braced itself for the gradual but potentially grave impact of the across-the-board cuts, which took effect Friday night at the stroke of Obama's pen. Hours earlier, he and congressional leaders emerged from a White House meeting no closer to an agreement.

Even as they pledged a renewed effort to retroactively undo the spending cuts, both parties said the blame rests squarely on the other for any damage the cuts might inflict. There were no indications that either side was wavering from entrenched positions that for weeks had prevented progress on a deal to find a way out: Republicans refusing any deal with more tax revenue and Democrats snubbing any deal without it.

"None of this is necessary," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "It's happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit."

The president said the cuts would cause "a ripple effect across the economy" that would worsen the longer they stay in place, eventually costing more than 750,000 jobs and disrupting the lives of middle-class families.

In the Republican-controlled House, GOP lawmakers washed their hands of the mess, arguing that bills they passed in the last Congress to avert the cuts absolved them of any responsibility. Those bills passed with little to no Democratic support and were never taken up by the Senate.

"We've done the work and shown that these choices can be made in a responsible, thoughtful way," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington in the GOP address.

Obama was holding out hope that as Americans start feeling the effects of the sequester — the term used for the automatic spending cuts — public pressure will force lawmakers back to the table. Ever wary that such fiscal fiascos could jeopardize the rest of his second-term agenda, Obama vowed in his weekly address to keep pushing reforms on immigration, preschool, gun violence and transportation.

But attention was already turning to the next major budget hurdles, with less than a month to negotiate a plan to fund the government beyond March 27 and a debt-ceiling clash coming in May.

Hopes that a measure to undo the spending cuts could be wrapped into a March deal to keep the government running dimmed Friday when both Obama and House Speaker John Boehner said they'd prefer to keep the two issues separate.

"I'm hopeful that 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.

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 's picture

"Sure that is why he has

"Sure that is why he has provided Affordable health care,"

Are you serious?

 's picture

Bruce, your hatred for

Bruce, your hatred for Republicans prohibits you from seeing the truth and doesn't allow you to be objective. The sequestration was Obamas Idea. Obama wants to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible on American people to achieve his goals.

By the way, what parts of my post below do you disagree with?

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Horse crap

Obama wants to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible on American people to achieve his goals.?????

Sure that is why he has provided Affordable health care, like Nixon and other Repubs wanted to do and wants to better the US for all the middle class and the poor...that is why he wanted to cut the loopholes for the rich and signed the sequester to make a logical deal and the DO NOTHING CONGRESS again screws the working class and the poor.

You are the very reason that this country is going to suffer for your greed and hate for the working class...

 's picture

Major Cuts?

As long as the damn republicans are in control of the house and senate, nothing is ever going to get resolved. The vast majority of republicans, love seeing the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. John Boehener, (BONER) needs to step down, and give his seat to someone that will respect the office, and not think they run the country as he thinks he does.

ERNEST LABBE's picture


Bruce the democrats are in control of the U.S. Senate. It's easy to understand why we can't spend money we don't have if your a taxpayer.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Congress has the purse

As long as the Congress is Republican it will work for the RICH and they have the purse strings to get it done...

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Repubs out to destroy the Country for the rich

Bruce, that is why they all want to be like Ronny Reagan and follow in his steps...I agree they should follow Ronny in lockstep ASAP and be buried real soon....the are the dying breed and so now they will do anything they can to gerrymander districts, change voting protocol, and lie to the American people to save the rich. Those that follow the TPGOP are the Taliban of this country.

Bob White's picture

When will people figure out

When will people figure out that we are BROKE and we need to make cuts. I would be willing to pay a bit more in taxes as long as the people that are getting assistance take the same percent of cut in what the get in assistance its only fair. The President talks about paying our fair share.

 's picture

Good, I am glad to see that

Good, I am glad to see that the Republicans didn't cave in to King Obama. By the way, there were no cuts in spending and there will be no cuts in spending. The sequester just decreases the increases.

If I am spending a hundred dollars a day in February and plan to start spending two hundred dollars a day starting March 1st, but because of a change in plans, I can only spend one hundred and fifty dollars a day starting March 1st, is that really a spending cut?


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