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. Wilson

    @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.
    I agree with you to a certain extent. I have no problem with giving people a "hand up." My problem is with all the "hand outs," whether to the people capable of working but making the choice not to in order to collect that government moocher check, or the corporations getting all their unneeded subsidies. The downside to the corporations not getting the subsidies is the fact that they will not allow it to affect their bottom line. Who makes up the loss,,,,us.

    February 27, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Bob

    The Republicans should recognize this tactic .... they INVENTED it, waiting until after Midnight on December 31st, so they could sign a bill that "cut taxes" on most people, while compromising on those who earned more that $400K, then declaring that "new revenues (read taxes)" are off the table. While I fault both sides for not meeting somewhere in the middle, I think the increasing bad-mouthing by the GOP is getting out of hand. On the other hand, the DEMS need to get serious, step up and shoulder the consequences of putting meaningful budget cuts on the table, including the ones that say are "hands off"! The Sequester, for all its faults, will at least cut the budget deficit.

    February 27, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |

    Vote The Tea Party Out!

    February 27, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. rs


    Not all americans will except a tax increase
    Why not? It is our patriotic duty (well unless you're a member of the GOP- or rich). Look at the facts: We have the lowest tax rates in a generation! The last "increase" simply returned the "temporary" Bush cuts to back where they were for people earning over $50k (or about.4% of Americans).
    They payroll tax cut (like the Bush cuts Republicans seem so addicted to) were temporary, and have expired. No sir, it is our duty to pay and the rates are low. Remember- under the last great Republican President (Eisenhower) the top income tax rates exceeded 85%. 36-39% is chickenfeed,

    February 27, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Anonymous

    This imitation potus is going to try anything and everything he can to continue his "entitlements: while he hacks away at an unstable economy. At some point in time, hopefully before he gets his drones, and militia all set up we will storm the wh and assume control of this country before he and the democrats destroy whats' left.

    Obama does not care, he is the king, the man, the rocker! He is also a fool!!!

    February 27, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. jpmichigan

    Obama does not have the leadership skills it take of negotiation and compromise. The cuts will take place , for it is LAW, signed, sealed and delivered by Obama. The chicken have come home to roust, and it is up to Obama to face up to the reality he initiated with Jack Lew, to be use as a trigger to increase taxes. He had his tax increase in January and he still needs more to cover his outlandish spending. Everything Obama does has an motive of raising taxes, will this last move (Sequester) maybe his down fall.

    February 27, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Terry

    Amazing watching this from Canada.
    I'm thankful none of these clowns are running a real business,.
    It's apparent they couldn't organize the cleaning of a one hole outhouse with an army!

    February 27, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Borderless wrote:

    Obama logic: Comes up with the idea for the sequester. Blames Republicans when it happens.
    Worst. President. Ever.
    So, the President comes up with an 11th hour solution to the debt ceiling debacle, by finding a common ground where none had existed before. Now House Republicans blame the President for their own failure to pass House legislation to change the draconinan across the board cuts to something more efficient and sensible.

    Republicans will take the brunt fo the blame for the sequester because Pres. Obama is not the one to introduce bills onto the House floor for a vote. Republicans have failed to vote on one bill to re-organize the cuts, much less pass one on to the Senate for their vote.

    Notice to the right wing choir: All of those "bills" that Boehner claims the Senate has not acted do not exist. Besides, any bills voted on by the 112th House do not apply with the 113th House. The Senate is constitutionally prohibited from voting on bills from the previous Congress. Besides, the 112th House did not pass one sequester bill, and so far the 113th has been out on break. Republicans have willully ignored the sequestered, opting instead to do nothing except blame Pres. Obama for their own lack of action.

    February 27, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Let's look reality in the face. The Liberal's, make that Obama, could care less if spending is cut one dime. If the Senate had taken up the Budget the last 4 years maybe this "Sequester" wouldn't be happening. The democrats in and out of the Senate don't want to get blamed for the extreme debt and deficit problem in the country even tho they are the cause of it. . 75 Years of screw up after screw up and it finally catches up with you.

    It doesn't matter who is president if you can't or won't fix anything. It wasn't Republicians that put all the Big Social Programs in place. The democrats and liberal's as has been said from time to time, Have no clothes.

    February 27, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. rs

    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%
    It is down over 30%. It would be down more perhaps if the House GOP passed a budget!

    February 27, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. Larry L

    Neo-cons and Tea Party radicals demonize government workers as if they aren't taxpayers. Unlike our Congress, they do not control the size of our government. Many of those dedicated individuals are veterans (many disabled) who chose to stay in Civil Service after leaving military service because their skill set was particularly well-suited for the job. They are doing exactly the work our government asked them to do and most do the job exceedingly well. They are a critical part of our military readiness posture and our capabilities will degrade rapidly as they are removed from the job. Civil Servants furloughed lose 20% of their family's income – actually more when you consider their savings and health programs. None of that money will be returned. Some will lose their homes, go deeply into debt, or be required to remove their children from college. The sequester is not a trivial political statement to those families.

    Most Americans support closing tax loopholes, ending subsidies for oil companies making enormous profits, and asking the wealthiest to pay a little more towards our Nation's recovery. We can all expect to pay in some way – even with reduced Social Security and Medicare benefits and a significantly-reduced defense budget. Targeting Civil Servants for this disproportionate level of sacrifice is unfair and unpatriotic.

    February 27, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Pete

    Just remember republican posters who passed the sequester in the first place,a majority led congress so take credit where credit is do and remember also that Boehner your orange skinned hypocrite said publicly he pretty much got what republicans wanted didn't he!! Republican posters here either own up to it or shut up because you can't have both!!And yes Pres.Obama has signed that sequester bill that's your partys death sentence isn't it but remember republicans we've happily warned yah many times about this haven't we!!

    February 27, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. rs


    You may call what the House passed "a budget". It was ideological trash- pretty much reflecting the hyper radical TEA Party ideology. Hint- a budget is not a place for partisan, or ideological expression.

    February 27, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. CJ

    We need spending cuts. I would recommend not only the 1.1 Trillion in spending cuts but in addition cut out those tax loopholes. The most important tax deductions to keep are for Children (Exemptions),Medical,Mortgage and Charitable contributions. Allmost all other deductions should be looked at closely and many should be eliminated.
    We need to end tax credits for oil companies and not allow tax credits for companies that ship jobs overseas. They should flip that credit for companies that mover jobs from overseas back to the United Sates.

    February 27, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. W.

    It appears that the only thing these rich old men have left in their lives is hatred and animosity for any and all that do not support their own ideas. There is too much wealth at the end of the politics and too little compassion for the lives of ordinary people. We should rename the three branches of our government, "Control, Alternate, Delete..." as a more concise moniker to their ignorance toward each other and America. We have grown apart as a nation and now are looking away from one another, as clearly seen by the Senate leaders. The darker angels have indeed descended upon our country and haunt the minds of our government.

    February 27, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. yanni

    How long it takes the GOP to get over the Obama election. It has been five years believe it or not it happened Obama is the President of the US of A. Time has changed also it seems unlikely for you now it will be the norm in the future. The less time you took to adapt the changing demography the less irrelevant you will become in the future.

    February 27, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Wilson wrote:

    The downside to the corporations not getting the subsidies is the fact that they will not allow it to affect their bottom line. Who makes up the loss,,,,us.
    Personally, I see nothing wrong with "S-Corporations" losing the tax loophole that pays for their elite luxuries. Besides, we all know that the "S-Corporation" filing is just a fancy loophole for an individual to file thier personal taxes so that they can take advantage of additional loopholes and lower rates.

    February 27, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. allens

    they do not deserve to step foot in the peoples house. they do not care about us and never will. they cannot even fake their contempt for us

    February 27, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. rs


    This imitation potus is going to try anything and everything he can to continue his "entitlements
    I would guess then that when the time comes, you'll mail your Social Security back to the U.S. Treasury, and vow not to use Medicare right? You'd hate to be one of those "moochers".

    February 27, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. calamity jane

    I don't mind handing off our debt to the next generation. It would be about time that someone showed them they are not entitled to have everything mommy and daddy limitlessly provided for them their whole lives. They are the spoiled generation who need a few hard knocks anyway.

    February 27, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. rs


    Sigh. Wrong again. The First Sequester Bill was passed in 1986. Please be sure to tell us where Lew and Obama were then.

    February 27, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. MightyMoo

    I'm fine with across the board spending cuts and tax increases. I also expect tax loopholes to be closed at once so nobody can deduct their way out of paying. Time we started paying things down instead of living high on the hog. In the future they should happen at the same time so both take effect right away. Once the debt is paid off then people can have tax cuts, but not before.

    February 27, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    No need to include Speaker Boehner. He can't deliver the necessary voters from his own rowdy and undiscipline caucus.

    February 27, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. rs

    Wilson wrote:

    The downside to the corporations not getting the subsidies is the fact that they will not allow it to affect their bottom line. Who makes up the loss,,,,us.
    So, in other words, we have no choice to allow this Republican Blackmail to continue? "oh, yes, we must give BP their share of $400 billion a year in subsidies or they might raise the price of gas".
    No wonder people think Republicans cannot be trusted anymore. That's the craziest explaination for corporate welfare I have ever heard.
    Especially if we use this as a reason to toss old people into poverty.

    February 27, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. Larry L


    Obama logic: Comes up with the idea for the sequester. Blames Republicans when it happens.
    Worst. President. Ever.
    "I got about 98% of what I wanted... so I'm pretty happy...". A quote from the REPUBLICAN Speaker of the House – John Boehner. 75% of Republicans voted for the sequester – a bill they crafted. You can't make your own version of reality.

    February 27, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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