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. glorydays

    Good, it will give them something to do while they do nothing.

    February 27, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Name lynn

    Yak yak yak what the white leaders suppose to do or say as i can remember we have a black president whos in charge over the white. An his name is obama, Ha Ha

    February 27, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Mike

    Pretty evident that the discussion will be 'OK we got the cuts...not before 27 March we need to fix what is broke and cut fr from where we can sustain reductions'....the plan all along.

    February 27, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Rudy NYC


    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.
    All of those deductions that you cited make up 95% of all of the deductions that people take on their personal returns. So, if you do not touch those [and neither side really wants to touch them] then there are pretty much no meaningful deductions to eliminate.

    The corporate side is a diferent story, though. Conservatives insist that eliminating deductions for jets and other perks of power would hurt job creation because it would cut into profits too deeply. If that's the case, then the corporation is poorly run, their are too many people being grossly overpaid, or all of the above. Remember, back in 2009, how the Detroit auto executives had come to DC in private corporate jets to ask lawmakers for a bailout?

    February 27, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Wilson

    "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,"
    Straight out of "Atlas Shrugged." You are either a "moocher" or a "looter."

    February 27, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. ghty

    Congress say no to obama spending increases.Americans want a balanced budget now and no more obama communist programs.

    February 27, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I don't know what these loopholes they are talking about closing but I suspect closing so-called loopholes on business will just send more business to China. I suspect it will get to the point that business will have to go to the government with hand out for money to survive let alone making any profit. I have finally heard Obama detractors now calling Obama a Communist. Socilasim was a smashing sucess in the old Soviet Union. Now thw Liberal's are trying to Re-Invent it here.
    Better pull your head out of the sand before it's too late.

    February 27, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Taroya

    What I don't appreciate is "But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to".
    Because I AM willing to pay more to keep what I have. It is only lunatics and idiots that don't know if you have a larger base to service, then services will cost more.
    Europe has proven, and is continuing to prove, that austerity doesn't work.
    We have infrastructure that needs to be repaired. That is a lot of jobs, from the truck drivers delivering the material all the way to the engineer in charge of the project.
    There is no doubt that the defense budget is VERY bloated; we have had the Pentagon say it in that many words. And Congress promptly told the Pentagon that We don't care if you don't need this, you are going to take it anyway.
    THAT is messed up!!

    February 27, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Dean

    Make the cuts, endure the hardship, and continue on. Once everyone is acclimated, make additional cuts, etc. This is how to save a business, or a household, or a government. At the same time, reduce spending.

    February 27, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. mike

    another waste of tax payers dollars

    February 27, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. rs

    The critical thing to remember people is that even if the GOP grows a spine and defuses their Sequester Bomb (and I am betting they won't), the next debt ceiling limit comes up at the end of next month. They're already talking "Government shut-down".
    Face it, these cats have decalred war on the U.S. Maybe its time we act like they did. Treason HAS punishments.

    February 27, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Wilson


    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.
    Another demonstration of your lack of reading/comprehension skills. Go back and re-read my post.

    February 27, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. lottie

    Reid is right the republicans can do something too. instead of blaming it all on the president. I don't blame the president for not jumping each time the republicans want him to. I would be tired too after over 4 years of them trying to screw up everything he does or suggests. Everything has been a fight from day one. We need to get rid of most of the congress and find people that can work together. This is just plain stupid and even if you don't like the president you have to admit congress is really in a mess. Get rid of the tea baggers . That would help and MC Cain who seems to have an ax to grind and Lucy goosey Lindsey.

    February 27, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. PatheticCNN

    Please Stop this Dog and Pony Show and Show some Strong Leadership Mr. President.

    February 27, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Cut Congress pay

    February 27, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    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...
    What's even more troubling is that Republicans have been "predicting" that the sequestered cuts would go into effect, and that all of it would be Pres. Obama's fault. Any revenue related legislation *must* originate within the House Of Representatives.

    What has been the House's record? The 112th House went on vacation just prior to the first of the year and allowed the middle class tax cut to expire because the administration wanted the tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire. The new 113th House has done absolutely nothing except go on a 10 working day break. When you only work 3 days out of the week, that means they've been on a 3 week recess. The schedule for all of the sessions is written by the majority party, who last year scheduled a record low number of working days.

    February 27, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Javier Narvaez

    You all seem to forget that in order to pass a bill, you need both chambers of Congress and the President's signature. Regardless of who actually suggested the sequester, both sides seemed pretty happy with it at the time.

    February 27, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. UDidntBuildThat

    "The sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed."
    Barack Obama on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 in a presidential debate
    Our ruling (polifact)
    Obama said that the sequester - and the defense cuts that would result from it - was not his proposition. "It is something that Congress has proposed," he said in the debate.
    But it was Obama’s negotiating team that came up with the idea for defense cuts in 2011, though they were intended to prod Congress to come up with a better deal for reining in the deficit, not as an effort to make those cuts reality.
    Meanwhile, members of both parties in Congress voted for the legislation that set up the possibility of sequestration. Obama’s position is that Congress should now act to avoid those across-the-board cuts.
    Obama can’t rightly say the sequester isn’t his, but he did need cooperation from Congress to get to this point. We rate the statement Mostly False.
    Liberal logic: When Republican Pres. signs something into law it is their fault not Congress. When Obama signs something into law, it is Congress or Republicans fault.

    February 27, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Jill-IN

    GOP = goofy old pukes

    February 27, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Jack- NYC

    Why is anyone surprised? Obama gave all of these clowns raises. Anyone blaming them should surely also blame Obama.

    February 27, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. snowdogg

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

    And which Republican suggested a WH meeting – period?

    February 27, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Ron in Texas

    More finger pointing blaiming the other side. Both are right and both are wrong. We have a spending problem and a revenue problem. During the fiscal cliff "crisis" Obama wanted $1.4T in revenue increase and the republican plan was for an increase of only$800B yet agreed on $600B and that is all the revenue increase the republicans say that Obama is going to get. Yes we need to reduce spending but there can be no white elephants. Everyone wants to reduce spending just not their programs as they are to important to their area. The Bush tax cuts were based upon projections of 10 years of continuous growth after the longest continuous growth in history. Did not happen and we increase spending with two wars and other legistration that was unpaid for by both parties. Those "TEMPORARY" tax cuts reduced revenue by $7T over the time that they have been in place and reduce revenue by $575B each additional year which greatly increases the deficit. Time to get real on spending cuts and revenue increase, both.

    February 27, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. ronjayaz

    Pure posturing on both sides. Time to electorately (2014) to retire the intransigents & release President O'Bama's second term from a repeat of the first-planned stagnation.

    February 27, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. bigdoglv

    Why was this not done weeks ago? Everyone traveling around laying blame. Seems like that time could have been used to find the middle ground on this issue. Then again, that would force them to actually do their job.

    February 27, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. UDidntBuildThat

    Rudy NYC
    Let's not forget that it was Obama himself that came out and said all modification to Seqestration will be VETOED!!!. It was Obama that told the House forget about modifyiing it because he will not sign it into law. The previous House has passed legislation to modify but Obama does not like them. So rather than work together to get a bill everyone approves of, as a real leader would do, he takes to the campaign trail to pitch lies about the Bill.
    Boehner told Ried that since they have already passed 2 bills both of which he refused to take up, then they need to pass one so the House can take up. Boehner did not tell him to pass the previous bills. It makes sense that the Senate put up or shut up. House can pass bills of budgetary matters even if it came fr the Senate or the WH. They just have to sign off. So please let's put the blame where it belongs. ON POTUS!

    February 27, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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