News / USA

Obama Asks Congress to Avoid 'Brutal' Spending Cuts

U.S. President Barack Obama discusses the automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week, Washington, February 19, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama discusses the automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week, Washington, February 19, 2013.
President Barack Obama has issued another appeal to Congress to work with him to avert the first stage of mandatory automatic cuts to domestic and defense spending scheduled to take effect March 1.

What's Next After the Fiscal Cliff Deal

  • Late February: Extraordinary measures to extend the nation's borrowing limit will be exhausted.
  • March 1: Large automatic spending cuts, or sequestration, would take effect without congressional action.
  • March 27:  A temporary funding measure expires.  Government agencies will run out of money unless Congress adopts a new bill.
The $85 billion in cuts that could begin next week are the first part of $1.2 trillion in reductions President Obama and lawmakers agreed on two years ago to force budget savings amid partisan gridlock in Washington.

Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the mandatory cuts proposed by President Obama after grueling debt and deficit negotiations in 2011.  Republicans want still deeper reductions beyond the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction Mr. Obama says has been achieved.  

Mr. Obama appeared in an auditorium with a group of 16 first responders, including police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who he said could lose their jobs if automatic cuts occur.

He urged Republicans to work with him to avoid what he called additional brutal self-inflicted wounds on the economy.

"Republicans in Congress face a simple choice," he said. "Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and health care and national security, and all the jobs that depend on them, or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations?"

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, accused Mr. Obama of proposing more government spending and failing to offer "a credible plan" that Congress can pass.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Mr. Obama "still prefers campaign events to common sense, bipartisan action."

Mr. Obama said his door remains open to negotiations to avoid the mandatory cuts and achieve balanced reductions. "Nobody should want these cuts to go through because the last thing our families can afford right now is pain imposed unnecessarily by partisan recklessness and ideological rigidity here in Washington," he said.

Responding to questions about Mr. Obama's personal involvement in negotiations, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted to reporters that communication lines remain open.

The co-chairmen of a bipartisan fiscal commission Mr. Obama appointed issued revised proposals on Tuesday to address the nation's fiscal problems. Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson proposed $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, including spending cuts and health-care and tax reforms.

Bowles addressed the impact of across-the-board cuts. "There is no business in the country that makes its cuts across-the-board, you go in there and you try to surgically try to cut those things that have the least adverse effect on productivity," he said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the latest Simpson-Bowles proposal supports Mr. Obama's position that the only way to tackle deficit and debt problems is with a balanced plan.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid