President Barack Obama blamed opposition Republicans in Congress on Monday for the failure of a special deficit committee to reach a compromise on $1.2 trillion in additional federal government spending cuts during the next 10 years.
Obama spoke after the so-called "supercommittee" acknowledged its inability to reach an agreement, saying its members could not bridge "significant differences."
The president said Americans overwhelmingly support "balanced" deficit reduction. And he said Republicans trying to protect tax cuts for the wealthy are the main "stumbling block" to an agreement.
"There are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington," said President Obama.
The inability of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach an agreement means that under a compromise reached in August, an additional $1.2 trillion in mandatory cuts in domestic and defense spending will begin in 2013.
Obama said he will reject any effort to modify the original agreement and vows there will be "no easy off-ramps" for Congress. But he said lawmakers can avoid these mandatory reductions by compromising on a "balanced" plan, he says, will help the economy "with a scalpel, not a hatchet."
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