Congressional leaders invited to W.H. on spending cuts deadline day
February 27th, 2013
01:10 PM ET
2 years ago

Congressional leaders invited to W.H. on spending cuts deadline day

(CNN) – Congressional leaders have been invited to the White House for a meeting at 10 a.m. ET Friday–the day forced spending cuts are scheduled to start taking effect, two sources said Wednesday.

But while President Barack Obama was on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a Rosa Parks statue unveiling, he met with congressional leaders for a brief, minute-long meeting.

According to an Obama administration official, the president discussed the forced spending cuts and said that during their pending White House meeting on Friday they need to be "ready to talk solutions."

Obama met with the following leaders on Capitol Hill: House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Assistant House Democratic Leader James Clyburn.

Asked by CNN if the discussion led to anything, Reid suggested it was just a quick huddle. When pressed on if he was surprised the White House meeting was scheduled for Friday, the Nevada Democrat gave a big smile and said, "Nothing surprises me anymore."

Pelosi also told CNN in an exclusive interview that the meeting before the ceremony was brief.

"We just came together and talked about looking forward to getting together on Friday," she said.

Pelosi downplayed the timing of the White House meeting saying, "I have no idea, I guess it's just a scheduling thing. "

"I don't have any problem with us meeting on Friday," she added. "I think what we're talking about is beyond sequester."

Another Democratic official who was at the short gathering described the setting as “regular protocol” for these events–top leaders typically greet the president in an area off-stage and walk in shortly before the event begins.

A GOP aide told CNN that Republicans do not anticipate the White House meeting to be anything more than optics–an effort, the aide said, by Obama to show he is at least talking to Congress on the day the cuts are supposed to kick in.

But the aide added it wasn't clear what was on the president's agenda.

By the time Obama meets with the leaders, the cuts–$85 billion worth over the next seven months–could have already started to take place. It all depends on when Obama issues an order to let them begin. He has until 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday to issue the order, according to an official with the Office of Management and Budget.

A senior congressional Republican chided Obama for the timing of the meeting.

"Either someone needs to buy the White House a calendar, or this is just a – belated – farce," the Republican said. "They ought to at least pretend to try."

And McConnell released a statement, saying "The meeting Friday is an opportunity for us to visit with the President about how we can all keep our commitment to reduce Washington spending."

He continued: "With a $16.6 trillion national debt, and a promise to the American people to address it, one thing is perfectly clear: we will cut Washington spending. We can either secure those reductions more intelligently, or we can do it the President’s way with across-the board cuts. But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to.”

Reid, however, took to the Senate floor earlier Wednesday to "make sure everyone understands this is not President Obama's sequester."

"Congress has the power to (a)void these self-inflicted wounds," he added. "But Democrats can’t do it alone. Republicans have to do their part. Compromise is never easy but surely it is better than doing nothing at all."

– CNN's Jake Tapper and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • White House
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. UDidntBuildThat

    frank observed:
    How interesting thatthe GOP leaders already know in advance that meeting with the President will be fruitless. Is this not exactly the problem? Why not simply not go to the meeting and declare him at fault? That is their objective...
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Well when u have a President that has in the past, demogogue all issues rather than come together for the good of the country what else would u say? Obama wants more tax increase to spend more. That is a deal breaker for Republicans. Obama does not care about our debt or deficit. He chastised Bush for spending and putting our next generation at risk and he comes in and does worse for political purposes instead of what is best for the country and our childrens' future. It is fruitless when Obama choose to hit the campaign trail to demogogue the issue some more rather than go to Capitol Hil to work with Congress. Obama is a petulant child screaming for what he wants not what is for the USA.

    February 27, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    What a Joke: Boehner, should go to every press conference and meeting with the budget Bills the House passed, this years in one hand and the one they passed last year in the other and just say, where is the Bill the senate has passed. Can’t compromise if there is not another option on the table?

    February 27, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. asseyeseeit

    What a Joke: Boehner, should go to every press conference and meeting with the budget Bills the House passed, this years in one hand and the one they passed last year in the other and just say, where is the Bill the senate has passed. Can’t compromise if there is not another option on the table?

    February 27, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. DustyOnes

    Obama is such a hack.

    February 27, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Meese

    Don't bother Obama while he is campaigning.

    February 27, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    As President Clinton once said, let's do the Arithematic.

    Spending cuts being proposed by the GOPT – $85 Billion

    Their Iraq and Afghan wars – $5.5 Trillion

    When you add it all up, the American people are the losers as long as these teapublicans remain in office.

    February 27, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. aseyeseeit

    What a Joke: Boehner, should go to every press conference and meeting with the budget Bills the House passed, this years in one hand and the one they passed last year in the other and just say, where is the Bill the senate has passed. Can’t compromise if there is not another option on the table?

    February 27, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Wilson wrote:

    ...The truth is that the sequester already gives the White House the legal flexibility to avoid doom, if a 5% cut to programs that have increased more than 17% on average over the Obama Presidency counts as doom. ....
    ---------------–
    Actually, there is nothing any POTUS can do prescribe how much money is spent where. Those decisions rest with, and originate from, the House of Represetnatives. The only thing a POTUS can do is sign their bills into law or veto them. We way past the point where the sequester can be vetoed.

    In other words, all of these wonderfully insightful conclusions that you draw are based upon a totally false premise. Conclusion, you really don't know what you're talking about ... or you're just making up stuff, which sounds good to you, as you go along.

    February 27, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. joshua

    We need to get rid of the whole government by peace agreements from all by signing their resignation and choose a more God fearing leaders that will stand by God standards and not allow this beutiful nation to be destroy by our own decisions of walking away from God. Psalms 9 says the nation that slide away from God is leading straight to HELL. so please wake up before is too late and seek going

    February 27, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Darryl

    The POTUS needs to remind the GOP that $10.7 Trillion Dollars were ALREADY wracked-up when he took the Presidential Office and that is a FACT !

    February 27, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. com-man-senz

    Im still waiting to hear what the house republicans have to say about a up or down vote on the floor to close some tax loopholes. Why wont the speaker allow such a vote come to the floor? Its not a difficult thing to do. He can do it today! No taxes would be raised and vital programs wouldnt be slashed. Workers wouldnt be furloughed. 700,000 people wouldnt lose their jobs. What does the speaker have to say about an up or down vote? Or maybe hes just too scared it would pass. I personally think boehner wants to see people hurt just as we are coming out of recession. Hes a miserable s.o.b.

    February 27, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The Iraq and Afghan wars – $5.5 Trillion

    The Clinton surplus squandered by the GOP – $230 Billion

    Bush's Prescription Drug Program – $1 Trillion

    Bush's TARP Bailout that failing banks' CEOs used to pay out bonuses to their colleagues for parties in the Hamptons, Monte Carlo and the French Riviera – $700 Billion

    Still worried about $85 Billion in spending cuts GOPT???

    February 27, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Voter

    They should tell Obama to go F himself.

    February 27, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Nametodd harrison

    Look it up... CBO had the Iraq/Afgh wars cost $1.38 T as of Sept. 2012. The wars didnt help... but this president blows through $1.0 T in deficit spending every year. Obama already got his tax increase on the rich... and now he wants more? Even with the sequester... the Feds will spend more this year than last, and next year even more. This is a gov spending issue.

    February 27, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. aseyeseeit

    Did Obama say the budget cuts are in the mail!

    February 27, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Republicans do not offer alternatives to the sequester"

    To be fair, they did. Their alternative was as follows: "Medicare, Medicaid, SS and the entire societal safety net must die."

    February 27, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I really have not gotten a straight answer to the socalist leftists idea that the war was Bush's. What would you have done, gone around the world apologizing like the President of lying and corruption?

    February 27, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Jerry

    The $ stops at Obama's desk. Mr. Clueless-in-Chief needs to stop campaigning for a week or so and take care of the nation's pressing business/issues.

    After all, sequestration is HIS BABY! Will HE ever stop the blaming and lying game and admit it?! Think NOT! It's easier to play the blame game and lies, particularly with some gullible Américans. Gullible or not, América, one thing that CAN NOT be denied. Sequestration is HIS baby. Now it's asking HIM that it fed, continuously, clothed, etc., etc., etc.

    Stay tuned...

    February 27, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. aCriticalEye

    uDidnt BuildThat....you are so far off track. OUR president wanted BOTH chanbers and BOTH parties to work together. The sequester was floated as a means for the GOP/Tea Trolls to get their sacred cuts in exchange for part of the BUSH era tax breaks for the rich to expire. The entire idea came about in negotiations at the whitehouse to both the leaders of their respective chambers as well as to the president. The idea was to force cooperation, it was NOT EVER supposed to go into effect. When Mr Obama said he would veto any attempted change to the sequester it was an added measure to ensure both groups work diligently. Unfortunately, Mr Norquist and his following Tea Trolls would NOT allow compromise. IE they are calling Mr Obama's bluff. Nobody wants the sequester, especially mr Obama, but the GOP/Tea trolls are going to take it exceptionally hard during the midterm elections when tens of thousands of people lose their jobs and the economy seriously contracts.

    I for one abhor the Tea Party and every Republican today. For forty two rears I was a republican.....no more.

    February 27, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Mike

    It's mind blowing how selfish these Politicians are.

    February 27, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. rs

    "The truth is that the sequester already gives the White House the legal flexibility to avoid doom"

    Unfortunately Wilson, it does no such thing. It is an "across the board" cut that is meant to reach into every crevas of the budget for each and every ab=gency and take a percentage. That's how it was written. The President has no such authority real or imagined, and I doubt the Congress will cede such authority to the Executive.

    February 27, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Say what?

    With a show of comments, how many would want congress to pass a bill to end loopholes and deductions, no matter what tax bracket or "class" you are?? Lets tell Republician/congress what we want rather than them guessing or hearing it from a few!

    February 27, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. N8R

    So I guess some how it it the Office of the President's fault for not executing a budget that was never passed by the Legislative branch of our government. Are we living in bizzaro world?

    February 27, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. reality check

    Didn't The President say after the tax hike in january, that cuts would follow based on tough choices he would make? I don't understand the logic in more tax hikes just 3 months later. Let's start trimming some fat.

    February 27, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Anthony

    Just like the Republican idea of withholding congressional pay until a budget is passed, which runs into the 27th Amendment, the Republican idea of giving the executive branch the ability to change spending cuts has one big problem. Remember what the Supreme Court did with the line-item veto?

    February 27, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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