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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora