Obama urges Republicans to act on spending cuts
February 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama urges Republicans to act on spending cuts

(CNN) - In another plea for congressional action, President Barack Obama on Saturday warned of the pitfalls should a series of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts go into effect late next week.

The president faulted Republicans for not acting and urged lawmakers to avert the crisis by drawing up a deficit-reduction plan that has both spending cuts and revenue.

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'It appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising - instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans - they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class," he said.

The cuts, set to kick in March 1, would slash the amount federal agencies can spend by $85 billion over the next seven months and $1.2 trillion over the next decade. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts could reduce economic growth by at least 0.6 percentage points and reduce job growth by 750,000 jobs.

Other ways Americans could feel the impact include weakened unemployment benefits, longer security lines at the airport, furloughs at federal agencies, delays or closures at national parks and higher prices for chicken and other products because of cuts to food safety programs.

The federal pre-kindergarten program, Head Start, also would experience serious cutbacks.
"Once these cuts take effect, thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off, and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids," Obama said.

In order to avert the sequestration, Obama wants to replace the cuts with a mix of more targeted spending cuts and tax increases on top earners.

Republicans say they're ready to make necessary spending cuts, but higher taxes are not on the table. They're also quick to point out that the White House first floated the idea of the cuts more than a year and a half ago.

"The question is: Why won't he work with us? And the answer, quite simply, is because he wants higher taxes," Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota said in the GOP weekly address Saturday.

The right way to address the issue is not through higher taxes but through "better spending control," he said.

"It's by creating jobs, growing the economy, and expanding the tax base," Hoeven added.

While Congress has been in recess this week, Obama spoke to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the phone. Details of the conversation were not given out, but little progress seemed to be made this week in terms of preventing the cuts from taking effect.

Obama, however, stressed the urgency of delaying the forced spending cuts, outlining the consequences - as he's done several times this week.

"These are the questions Republicans in Congress need to ask themselves. And I'm hopeful they'll change their minds," he said. "Because the American people have worked too hard for too long to see everything they've built undone by partisan recklessness in Washington."

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • President Obama
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Joe

    It would have been Friday, and not Saturday, that the POTUS made these comments. They are contrived comments designed to scare the people and shift the blame. Sequestration was Obamas program. Let him deal with it. IMO the cuts must take place, but some reapportioning is necessary.

    February 23, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  2. H. Gamer

    Just out of curiosity, how much of these "automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that go into effect late next week" include salary cuts for the members of Congress? How many of Congresses staffers, aides and lackeys will suffer pay reductions and furloughs? I have a feeling that if this sequesture impacted the walets of Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, we would have had this cleared and settled in 2012!

    February 23, 2013 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  3. Johnny DC

    This president wants to replace what amounts to an insignificant cut with regards to our deficit with an even less significant cut coupled with crushing taxes?

    And this is news?

    This just in: the sky is blue.

    February 23, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  4. Jerry

    Blamer-in-Chief, it's YOUR mess! Of course YOU and YOUR flunky supporters will blame the Republicans or others. Or a worst and stupider excuse: you'll blame Bush, AGAIN!

    Stay tuned...

    February 23, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  5. RS

    This president is the king of the boomerang of blame. He causes the crisis then pins it on everyone else. He doesn't compromise and blames the other side for not compromising. He causes the crisis and then blames others for causing a crisis. He is the master at deceipt and partisanship and the media is supporting it. He is ruining the economy, blaming republicans for shielding the rich (what a joke) then uses teachers and policemen to stand behind him for the most impact on his agenda. What a horrendous non-leader. We sure need someone that can lead both sides and it is not this Pres.

    February 23, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  6. Richard Long

    The Great Uniter... a new era of cooperation... Both sides are too polarized and have spent years trying to destroy each other. It's only going to get worse.

    February 23, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  7. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    It's a shame when you can't even trust your Government. This President is a flippin LIAR! I am disgusted and a shamed of how this White House has torn this Country apart.

    February 23, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Donna

    The president faulted Republicans for not acting and urged lawmakers to avert the crisis by drawing up a deficit-reduction plan that has both spending cuts and revenue.
    So is the LSM going to call Obama on this blatant LIE??? House Republicans have passed TWO bills LONG AGO to offer alternatives but the do nothing Democrat Senate refuses to bring them up for a vote. If they do not then it is pretty clear they have become the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party.

    February 23, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. Ed1

    You and your Democrat buddies approved the cuts so stop crying wolf and stop you overspending.

    Your no leadership skills and overspending what you don't have are just a couple of the reasons we are in this mess.

    February 23, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. just sayin

    "partisan recklessness in Washington."
    trulky amazing this clown can get away with saying this. this was all his idea, he signed it into law, it is his. and he has been the most partisan president in our history. a president is supposed to represent all of the people, obama clearly does not care about or represent large segments of our population. as for recklessness, what about spending our country into bankruptcy? that is the most reckless thing going on here and obama is the direct cause of it. and our pathetic press let's him get away with blaming others all the time.

    February 23, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. 1608

    The right way to address the issue is not through higher taxes but through "better spending control," he said.

    "It's by creating jobs, growing the economy, and expanding the tax base," Hoeven added.

    They are talking about the keystone pipline, give them that and they'll be happy for about three weeks.

    February 23, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. HenryMiller

    "... a deficit-reduction plan that has both spending cuts and revenue."

    Obama got his vindictive, economically pointless, tax increase–now it's time for the spending cuts. Lots and lots of spending cuts–starting with all the give-aways like Medicaid and food stamps and going on to the abolition of Obamacare, with a bit of draw-down at the Pentagon thrown in.

    February 23, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well, Let's see,
    So far it is Vaudville. To the RIch: WITH YOUR MONEY AND MY BRAINS, WE WILL GO PLACES. So far it is to China and other Offshore destinations. Beggers can't be Choosers. When Marco Polo went from Venice to China he did a lot of traveling by water because of Robbers, Bandits, Highwaymen, Thieves and other All Around Nice Guys. That road is still filled with all around nice guys. Some of them in high Government positions just waiting to seperate you from your money.

    February 23, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. FedRed

    Mr. President ; let the "REAL CUTS" happen and adapt to a little less like many Americans. Please stay in D.C. and stop the political road shows, with massive threats of layoffs, and services. You can shift funds like a good leader would do, so top the scare tactics, address the all your spending. Again, please stay in D.C. your travel expenses could be put to better use.

    February 23, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. cbr

    The Republicans hold the majority in the House. They have the biggest stake in resolving budget questions since any actions will require their agreement. The Speaker continues to walk in and out of press briefings to tell us that it is the President who is holding things up. The Speaker needs a little lesson on the responsibilities of the Executive and Congressional branches of the government. Then he needs to get his leaders together and lead them to a resolution. The Senate leaders must do the same. Finally, the President needs to call the leaders to the White House and have a round table discussion for a few hours to get this all worked out. ENough is enough! Stop posturing!

    February 23, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |