Obama Urges Congress to
Delay Automatic Spending Cuts
February 6, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to delay automatic
spending cuts set for March 1.
Speaking at the White House Tuesday, the president called on lawmakers
to quickly pass a package of limited spending cuts and tax reforms until
they can come up with a "smarter solution" to the nation's debt
Obama acknowledged that reaching agreement on a full budget may not
happen before the March 1 deadline. But he cautioned against sweeping
"We can't just cut our way to prosperity. Deep, indiscriminate cuts to
things like education and training, energy and national security will
cost us jobs and it will slow down our recovery. It's not the right
thing to do for the economy. It's not the right thing for folks who are
out there still looking for work. And the good news is this doesn't have
to happen," he said.
The $1.2 trillion in cuts to domestic and defense programs are known as
also are in favor of replacing the sequester, but say they disagree with
Obama's proposal for more tax increases. In a statement Tuesday, Senate
Republican leader Mitch McConnell called on the president to lay out
significant spending reforms now that Congress has acted on the tax
issue. He warned that the "clock is ticking," saying it is "time to get
Lawmakers established the automatic budget cuts in August 2011 as part
of an agreement to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. The deal specified that
the cuts would go into effect this past January if a special "supercommittee"
failed to trim the deficit by an equal amount over a 10-year period.
The supercommittee failed, forcing Congress to act to delay the cuts,
which coupled with automatic tax increases, were dubbed the "fiscal
cliff." But the lawmakers' January 1 agreement, which raised tax rates
on the wealthiest Americans, only postponed the cuts for two months.
Obama said there is no reason for thousands of jobs to be put in
jeopardy just because lawmakers could not come together to eliminate tax
loopholes or government programs that they agree need reform.
"Our economy right now is headed in the right direction, and it will
stay that way as long as there aren't any more self-inflicted wounds
coming out of Washington," said Obama.
A White House statement said "uncertainty around the sequester is
already having a negative impact" on the nation's economic growth.
Last week, the government reported the U.S. economy contracted
unexpectedly in the final three months of last year, partly because of
lower defense spending.