News / USA

Automatic US Budget Cuts to Begin Friday

Members of Congress Unable to Forestall Automatic Spending Cutsi
March 01, 2013 1:15 AM
Automatic U.S. government spending cuts are beginning [today/Friday] amid continued political gridlock in Washington -- which is preventing the adoption of less-painful paths to deficit reduction. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, last-ditch alternatives to the sequester were defeated in the Senate, and future budget negotiations will go forward with across-the-board austerity already in place.
Members of Congress Unable to Forestall Automatic Spending Cuts
Michael Bowman
Automatic U.S. government spending cuts are set to kick in amid continued political gridlock as last-ditch alternatives to the so-called "sequester" were defeated in the Senate.
“Can we not at least come to some agreement to prevent this," asked Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), echoing fellow U.S. lawmakers who seemed stunned by their own inability to act in response to the imminent sequester.
The answer for now: no.
Democrats proposed replacing the sequester’s cuts-only approach with a mix of targeted spending reductions and higher tax revenues, but Republicans objected.
“Look, the American people simply will not accept replacing spending cuts agreed to by both parties with tax hikes," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Republicans proposed maintaining the total amount of spending cuts — $85 billion this year — but giving President Obama flexibility in implementing them, prompting objections from Democrats.
“Why would they — the Republicans  — part of the legislative branch of government, cede more power to the White House?" asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) "Republicans should give Congress true flexibility. Flexibility to cut wasteful subsidies, flexibility to close unnecessary tax loopholes, and flexibility to ask the richest of the rich to contribute a little bit more.”
While blocking alternatives to the sequester, senators also took turns blasting it.
“God, if we cannot do better than that, all of us should be fired," said Republican Lindsey Graham (R-SC), decrying cuts to the military budget. "Fire the politicians, keep the soldiers."
Democrat Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) denounced the idea of implementing austerity while the economy remains weak.
“Cutting spending at this moment in time means cutting jobs at this moment in time, which means fewer people paying income taxes and more people drawing government benefits," he said. "That is not a recipe for economic expansion.”
Next up is a meeting Friday between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. White House spokesman Jay Carney is making no prediction of a breakthrough
“There are no preconditions to a meeting like this," Carney said. "This is a meeting with the president … any topic is up for discussion if one member of the group decides he or she wants to broach it.”
Obama, who has implored Congress to act, has repeatedly warned the sequester will hobble critical government functions, causing harm, pain and inconveniences. Senator McConnell, who will be at the White House meeting, derided the president’s warnings.
“Instead of directing his secretaries to trim waste in their departments, he is going after first responders, teachers, and almost any other sympathetic constituency you can think of … all to force Americans to accept higher taxes," McConnell said. "And he will claim his hands are tied, and somehow it will be everybody’s fault but his. Nonsense.”
Once the sequester takes hold, the American people will likely weigh in on its effects — quite possibly assigning blame. Leaders on both sides of the aisle hope blame falls on the other party.

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Comment Sorting
by: Jacob from: United States
March 03, 2013 8:30 PM
Next we cut 8 trillion dollars. Then we can get this Greece-bound nation on the right track. Otherwise, I am moving to Canada and then to Russia/China.

Debtor nations can't sustain themselves on more debt. Keynesian nonsense doesn't create wealth.

by: dwight from: dc
March 01, 2013 12:02 AM
christopher: what a retarded post. the key to "wealth" is a free economy which lets people live how they want, and buy and trade what they. want. taking people's property (aka taxes) does not "create wealth". people like you need to learn to mind your own business and stop interfering with other people's lives in an attempt to better your own.

by: Done Deal from: USA
February 28, 2013 10:25 PM
While one side blames the other, why are not the Global Elites who PLANNED all of this questioned???? The Rockefellers, The Bilderbergs, The Clintons......................The Global Elites. IT WAS ALL PLANNED! Wake up to the FACTS.

by: Planned from: USA
February 28, 2013 10:18 PM
Wake up people! This was all PLANNED by the Regime, so that the rank&file will have to lay down like lambs to the Regime. "The Regime will protect you, the Regime will protect you", their next plan is to microchip all people by 2017, a plan in force by the Global Elites, The Rockefellers, The Clintons, and the Bilderbergs..... the Elites.....Eugenics is their plan too. Wake up to reality.

by: hewhoasks from: Wisconsin
February 28, 2013 7:15 PM
One rejected, one filibustered.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
February 28, 2013 6:56 PM
The Republican proposal, to give power to the discretion of the President to budget cuts as per the sequestration requirements, was defeated. The Democratic proposal tried to mix the sequestion budget cuts with tax hikes, mixing oranges and apples, also failed. Both were defeated and it is a win for the public but not to the politicians or the President. The sequestration budget cuts should involve salary cut of the members of the Congress, Senate and the President, President's discretionary spending and stop the overseas financial and military assistance to countries like Egypt and Pakistan.

by: Christopher Tracy
February 28, 2013 6:50 PM
For a party that claims to be business-friendly, the GOP has no clue on how to create wealth. Rich people get that way by watching expenses and making wise investments. No one cuts their way to prosperity. One must invest. According to the GOP, there's no such thing as a wise government investment).

Why are Democrats sounding so logical and fiscally sophisticated? Maybe it has to do with the fact they are the only party in 50 years to have created a budget surplus (Clinton 1999 for you skeptics). Or maybe it's all relative. Compared to this crop of Republicans, anybody who knows math is a financial wizard.

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