News / USA

Obama Continues Contacts with Lawmakers on Sequester

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in his first cabinet meeting of his second term in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Mar. 4, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama participates in his first cabinet meeting of his second term in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Mar. 4, 2013.
— President Barack Obama says the federal government and other Americans will have to do their best to manage the effects of the $85 billion first stage of budget cuts forced on the country by partisan gridlock in Washington.   
 
In remarks before the first Cabinet meeting of his second term, Obama said he continues to seek "partners" among opposition Republicans to reverse mandatory cuts, known as the sequester.
 
Last week, the president and congressional leaders failed to break the impasse over the sequester, because of strong differences over the best way to achieve long-term deficit reduction.
 
Obama formally signed an order on Friday directing government agencies to comply with legislation called the Budget Control Act of 2011 that mandated the $85 billion automatic cuts, part of $1.2 trillion in potential cuts over the next decade.
 
On Monday, he said government agencies will try to manage cuts as best they can to minimize the impact on Americans.
 
"It's not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction.  It makes sense for us to take a balanced approach that takes a long view, and doesn't reduce our commitment to things like education and basic research that will help us grow over the long term," he said. 
 
Obama said government agencies face "very difficult decisions," adding that the budget cuts will hurt families and communities and mean slower U.S. economic growth and job creation.
 
He insists on what he calls balanced and fair deficit reduction, including a mix of new revenue, tax reform, and reforms in expensive government programs such as Medicare.
 
Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the sequester.  House Speaker John Boehner last week ruled out discussion of further revenue, saying Obama had already achieved enough tax increases.
 
"This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over.  It's about taking on the spending problem here in Washington," he said. 
 
Spokesman Jay Carney declined to provide any substantive details of conversations Obama has had with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
 
Carney said Obama is trying to find some common ground with Republicans, adding that both sides could still achieve greater deficit reduction.
 
"The $4 trillion in deficit reduction set as a goal by Speaker Boehner, President Obama and many economists inside and outside of government can be achieved and then some if Republicans would embrace the president's compromise proposal that would do some tough things on entitlements as well as on spending, and tax reform," he said. 
 
President Obama was seated next to his newest Cabinet member on Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is grappling with sequester effects on Pentagon spending.
 
Earlier, Obama announced his choices to fill three other Cabinet positions, at the Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and Office of Management and Budget.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid