Congressional leaders invited to W.H. on spending cuts deadline day
February 27th, 2013
01:10 PM ET
9 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.

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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. frank

    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...

    February 27, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. rs

    Well, Republicans will get what they deserve in this deal. Really, we don't have to examine their actions too closely. They have blocked and obstructed virtually every action of the Executive branch since Jan. 9, 2009, when Boehner and McConnell publicly vowed they would do just that to make Mr. Obama a "one-term-President". It simply got worse from there. No Budgets from the House, a record setting number of filibusters in the Senate (requiring a super-majority to pass anything). No, the Republicans have brought our country and the economy to its knees with their anti-American actions.
    Friday their latest insult to America goes into effect. The Sequester Bill cutting every account in every government agency and entity. Will they act to change it? No. They are too ideologically bound to chaos and destruction. They simply want to hurt America and its citizens as punishment for being to smart to vote GOP.
    That the President has to resort to rallying citizens to harang their legislators shows just how deaf and dumb the GOP is. Polls show the majority of Americans feel the GOP is at fault here; that they are too radicalized; and that they cannot be trusted with virtually anything of any importance. Their 14% approval rating in Congress reflects that.

    February 27, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. askdavey

    the presidents spending cuts ? i thought the cuts are because congress is like the freeloading 47%, thats were mitt got it wrong.....congress is the freeloading bunch that take from this country,1 million a day to run congress,.........if you leave it up to congress where they will cut the 20% from thier buget,close the gym or the cafe ( they caan brown bag lunch) how about a 2 week break to add to the break they are permentantly on, how about 50 weeks a year and 2 weeks vacation......just like the american public they are putting the screeews to?

    February 27, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Maggie

    Actually Senator McConnell, that's not true. Americans WILL accept another tax increase. You obviously have not been listening, have you?

    February 27, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Borderless

    Obama logic: Comes up with the idea for the sequester. Blames Republicans when it happens.
    Worst. President. Ever.

    February 27, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. maximusvad

    I wonder if they will accept ?

    February 27, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. gwtrans

    No More Tax Increases!

    February 27, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Conservatives complain about "takers" living off of tax dollars, while at the same time they defend tax cuts for boats, yachts and personal jets for their so called "makers". Given a choice, I would rather see tax dollars feed someone who needs than to feed someone else's ego.

    February 27, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Todd

    I hope the sequester takes place. The spending has to stop at some point. Maybe a little pain will get everyones attention. The whole problem has been caused by ALL of the politicians in Washington, not just one party or the other. The partisan BS is killing our nation, and the citizens suffer for it. We need two things to keep this country great. A strong military to keep us safe, and a balanced budget to keep us from owing any other country. Without those two things, none of the other social issues are going to matter long term. Keep America great. Balance the budget, get out of debt, and stop compromising the military. Then we can deal with and address the other important social issues in a bipartisan way.

    February 27, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. rs


    Obama logic: Comes up with the idea for the sequester. Blames Republicans when it happens.
    Worst. President. Ever
    Look it up. The first Sequester bill was passed in 1986. You want to try to pin that on Obama?

    February 27, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Chris

    This article is funny. The President is not looking for another TAX INCREASE. He wants to close the Loop Holes in the Tax Code to prevent large companies from hiding and not re-investing that money back into the econ. I think the way Rep. are so concerned about the Debt, they loose sight that if we are not putting people back to work, you will never pay off the debt. Worry about getting this country back on its feet first and the worry about the Debt.

    February 27, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Sagebrush Shorty

    President Obama wanted these cuts, and now he is afraid that the forced spending reductions will tarnish his image. What goes around comes around. Time to pay the piper instead of issuing him IOU's.

    February 27, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. Paul

    Borderless, who implemented the idea of sequester? Congress. Obama is not perfect, but he is not to blame here.

    February 27, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. critical thinking

    President Obama 2008 : " I will cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term " Now he can't cut 2.3%, just 4 years ago he promised to cut it by 50%. So where is the plan Mr. President? Are you just all talk? I know, it's someone else's fault. What a poor excuse you are for the leader of the free world.

    February 27, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. jeff

    Not all americans will except a tax increase, the President has got ot get serious about cutting our debt, not over 10 years, but over the next 2-3, when you look at doing it over a long period, most of that is smoke and mirrors. He is having a fit at just cutting 2.5% now, why would anyone believe that he wants to cut any spending or our debt!!!!

    February 27, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Meese

    We know McConnell will try but Obama is about politics not solutions so don't hold your breath.

    February 27, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. okietaxpayer

    It is unfortunate that the President keeps moving the goal posts each time an agreement is reached to cut spending.

    It is even more unfortunate that the President is spreading panic due to this agreement to reduce the rate of increase of spending next Friday. The amount in question is very tiny when compared to the total spending and any kind of manager should be able to find this amount of decrease in the rate of spending without reduction in their mission.

    I do not understand how the Senate keeps on not passing a budget. Seems to me no organization can run itself with out a budget.

    I hope the Republicans hold fast and enforce the spending decrease plan the President put forth.

    Our country is living on a credit card that has to be paid off before it is cut off. Spending needs to be no more than income else this entire house of cards both Congress and the Administration has built is going to crash. If they do not, all of us are going to pay the price for Congress spending more than our country takes in.

    February 27, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. jim

    It doesn't matter who's idea it was. The cuts need to be done. Most of Americans took 15-20% pay cuts a few years back when congress and the feds were getting increases and bonuses.

    February 27, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. rs

    It is simply fascinating in a depressing and ugly way, that the GOP obstructs, lies, and does everything in their power to slow the recovery of our economy- the one they wrecked under Mr. Bush, yet they blame Obama for "not leading". The GOP long ago vowed to never work with the President and used any number of Nixonian elements to attack him (the TEA Party, or the rascist Birthes)- never mind their demented and fact-free campaigns.
    What do they want? Should the President arrest McConnel, Boehner and the repugnant Graham and have their sorry backsides dragged to the White House in some attempt to "make them" uphold their sworn duty? Appealing perhaps, in a vicseral sort of way but if these guys won't work, what is the alternative?
    No, Republicans have dug this ditch to die in. Their ultimate act of suicide begins Friday.

    February 27, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |

    Time to hold the Spendocrats to their promise.

    February 27, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. Pete

    @Borderless,more like brainless like your republican reps in Washington..And its a toss up between Bushs,Reagan,Nixon and Hoover,all republicans,all historicly pathedic losers !!

    February 27, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. rs


    We know McConnell will try but Obama is about politics not solutions so don't hold your breath.
    McConnell? They guy that swore to do anything to make Obama a "one-term President" January 9, 2009? He's going to work to fix the problem? Ha!

    February 27, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Chris

    okietaxpayer... So wrong here on how our Gov. works. The Senate does not create the speading budget, its congress. Please educate yourself on how that process works.

    February 27, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Richard

    It appears thatt he Republicans did not get the message. People WILL accept a tax increase. They will be the ones paying a stiff proce for this. Just wait til the next election.

    February 27, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Wilson

    Maggie, no America will NOT accept another tax small business has just laid off three workers due to Obamacare and tax increases. More increase means more lay-offs.

    AskDavey, yes, the sequester was the President's idea and a law that he signed into effect. Is there blame to go around? Yes, but these are his cuts. He could fix it.

    RS, you need to check your history. The House has passed budgets, the Senate has failed to pass a budget for four+ years.

    February 27, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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