Obama urges Congress to compromise on cuts
by Julie Pace, Associated Press and Philip Elliott, Associated Press
February 25, 2013 03:45 PM | 750 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is interviewed by The Associated Press in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans each seem content with the political ground they hold and are prepared to let across-the-board spending cuts take effect on March 1, unlike during earlier rounds of budget brinkmanship that saw last minute frantic dealmaking. This time, there is no market-rattling threat of a US. default to force the two sides to compromise, no government shutdown on the short-term horizon and no year-end deadline to prevent a tax increase for every working American. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is interviewed by The Associated Press in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans each seem content with the political ground they hold and are prepared to let across-the-board spending cuts take effect on March 1, unlike during earlier rounds of budget brinkmanship that saw last minute frantic dealmaking. This time, there is no market-rattling threat of a US. default to force the two sides to compromise, no government shutdown on the short-term horizon and no year-end deadline to prevent a tax increase for every working American. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing an end of the week deadline, President Barack Obama said Monday that Congress can avert sweeping across-the-board cuts with "just a little bit of compromise," as he sought to stick lawmakers with the blame if the budget ax falls.

 

"At some point we've got to do some governing," Obama said. "And certainly what we can't do is keep careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis."

Despite Obama's urgent rhetoric, there is no indication that the White House and Congress were negotiating a deal to avoid cuts by Friday's deadline. White House press secretary Jay Carney said he had no new telephone calls to announce since the president's conversations with Republican congressional leaders last week. "We will continue to engage with Congress this week," Carney said.

Obama wants to offset the so-called sequester through a combination of targeted spending cuts and revenue increases, but Republicans oppose any plan that would include tax hikes.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting with Obama, governors said the president had assured the administration is pursuing solutions, but didn't offer assurances that officials would find a way ahead out ahead of the deadline.

The $85 billion budget-cutting mechanism could affect everything from commercial flights to classrooms to meat inspections. Domestic and defense spending alike would be trimmed, leading to furloughs for hundreds of thousands of government workers and contractors.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the cuts would harm the readiness of U.S. fighting forces. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said travelers could see delayed flights. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said 70,000 fewer children from low-income families would have access to Head Start programs. And furloughed meat inspectors could leave plants idled.

The White House continued laying out in stark terms what the cuts would mean for government services, dispatching Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to warn of the implications for critical security functions.

"I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester as without sequester," said Napolitano, adding that the impact would be "'like a rolling ball. It will keep growing."

Despite the Friday deadline, there are no serious negotiations happening between the White House and Congress. Obama is focused instead are trying to rally public support for his stance in the debate by warning Americans of the dire consequences of the across-the-board cuts.

The president told the governors that cuts would "''slow our economy, eliminate good jobs, and leave a lot of folks who are already pretty thinly stretched scrambling to figure out what to do."

The spending cuts have frustrated governors attending the National Governors Association meeting in Washington. They contend it has created widespread uncertainty in the economy and hampered economic recovery in their states.

"The president needs to show leadership," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican considered a potential 2016 presidential contender, outside the West Wing. "The reality is it can be done. This administration has an insatiable appetite for new revenue."

Democratic governors, meanwhile, laid responsibility squarely at the feet of Congress, but called on lawmakers from both parties to compromise.

"They need to get out of that box that sits under the dome and understand that this has real implications in people's lives," said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. "Work with the president, find a way to get it done — or if you want, just turn it over to us governors, and we'll negotiate."

The White House, seeking to ratchet up pressure on congressional lawmakers, gave the governors state-by-state reports on the impact of the cuts on their constituencies.

White House officials pointed to Ohio — home of House Speaker John Boehner — as one state that would be hit hard: $25.1 million in education spending and another $22 million for students with disabilities. Some 2,500 children from low-income families would also be removed from Head Start programs.

Officials said their analysis showed Kentucky would lose $93,000 in federal funding for a domestic abuse program, meaning 400 fewer victims being served in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's home state. Georgia, meanwhile, would face a $286,000 budget cut to its children's health programs, meaning almost 4,200 fewer children would receive vaccinations against measles and whooping cough.

The White House compiled its state-by-state reports from federal agencies and its own budget office. The numbers reflect the impact of the cuts this year. Unless Congress acts by Friday, $85 billion in cuts are set to take effect from March to September.

As to whether states could move money around to cover shortfalls, the White House said that depends on state budget structures and the specific programs. The White House did not have a list of which states or programs might have flexibility.

Republican leaders were not impressed by the state-by-state reports.

"It's time for the White House to stop spending all its time campaigning, and start finding smarter ways to reduce the deficit," said McConnell.

___

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Josh Lederman contributed to this report.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Comments
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anonymous
|
February 26, 2013
This sequestration was all Obama's idea and goes right along with his plan to overload our systems so when they fail he can reshape them.

How does he get away with presenting no budget in his entire term in office?

This Marxist president needs to take another vacation, a permanent one. And take the lamestream media with him. Go golfing Mr. President. Go golfing and just stay, please.
Business as usual
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February 25, 2013
The president, senate and house love to lay blame. The fact is the senate and president did not have a budget for 4 years and counting. The president added a record breaking amount to the debt incurred under Bush. We are broke with no end due to Obama....period! Dems and the president can blame the republicans all they want but when do they ever take responsibility? We have way too many government programs. People who can not afford children should not have them. Due to all these programs, they feel it is the public's responsibility to raise their children. Really? Cut the head start program because education begins in the home. Parents use that program from babysitting purposes and it is not my responsibility to pay for your childcare. Special education costs are ridiculous! There are so many special education teachers in each building and their numbers are low. Yet the regular classrooms are overflowing. I think if all the politicians were serious about the budget, they would cut out pork spending, get rid of the IRS and go to a national consumption tax, and cut of welfare after 4 years. One time shot for welfare and then you are done! No more WIC because you choose to get pregnant! Get it together!
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