News / USA

Obama: Automatic Budget Cuts Could Weaken Military

American political newspapers feature headlines about and images of U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 26, 2013.
American political newspapers feature headlines about and images of U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 26, 2013.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama went to a shipbuilding factory Tuesday to warn that the U.S. government spending cuts to take effect Friday will weaken the nation’s defense. The political battle over the so-called “sequester” shows no signs of a settlement.

Three days before the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts go into force, Obama continued his public campaign to pressure Republicans in Congress to stop them.
He visited Newport News Shipbuilding, the largest industrial employer in the state of Virginia, to make his point.

Obama said the impact of the cuts will not be felt immediately, but it will be widespread.

​“The sequester will weaken America’s economic recovery," he said. "It will weaken our military readiness. And it will weaken the basic services that the American people depend on every single day.”

White House officials said the cuts could affect many areas of government services, including air traffic control, food inspection and the nation’s defense.

The Pentagon would absorb $46 billion of the spending reductions.

The uniformed leaders of the five military branches - the Joint Chiefs of Staff - testified before Congress Tuesday that cuts in the Pentagon budget will put national security at risk.

While the president urged lawmakers to compromise to avoid the cuts, there was no sign that the two parties are negotiating.

Obama’s last known conversation with top Republicans was last week, and they have not met this week.

Instead of the sequester, the president wants a series of targeted cuts combined with tax increases to reduce the federal deficit.  

“The reason that we are even thinking about the sequester is because people are rightly concerned about the deficit and the debt. But there is a sensible way of doing things and there is a dumb way of doing things,” Obama said.

Republicans say they agreed to higher taxes in the last deal, and that the savings this time should come from lower spending.

Speaker of the House John Boehner said Tuesday the president is more concerned with politics than with preventing a budget crisis.

“I do not think the president is focused on trying to find a solution to the sequester," he said. "The president has been traveling all over the country, and today, going down to Newport News in order to use our military men and women as a prop in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes.”

The automatic cuts were designed to take effect if a congressional super-committee failed to approve at least $1 trillion in savings in the federal budget. While they were intended to be politically unacceptable to both parties, neither side appears willing to compromise.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid