Deal failed to be reached to avoid spending cuts
President Obama and Congressional leaders failed to reach a deal to avoid $85 billion in automatic spending cuts from taking effect. At a hastily called press conference, the President took on the GOP. Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto has the latest.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With automatic spending cuts about to kick in, President Barack Obama met with top Democrats and Republicans Friday morning. But when they emerged after just about an hour, they were no closer to an agreement.
“The only thing we've seen from Republicans is to replace these arbitrary cuts with an even worse set of arbitrary cuts,” Obama said.
The across the board cuts, known as the sequester, are now taking effect. And each side is pointing fingers. The President blames Republicans.
Obama said, “They're allowing these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to close the deficit.”
House Speaker John Boehner says the President got more than his share of tax increases from the Fiscal Cliff deal.
“The discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. It’s about taking on the spending problem here in Washington," Boehner said.
The President says the cuts will cause harm to the public. But his predictions now seem less dire.
Obama said, “There's not going to be an apocalypse, as some have suggested. They're just dumb.”
In a glimmer of hope, it appears Republicans and Democrats may be closer to avoiding the next fiscal crisis: A government shutdown at the end of the month. Boehner says the House will take up a bill next week to fund government past the end of March.
Boehner said, “I hope we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time.”
“There's no reason why we should have another crisis by shutting the government down in addition to these arbitrary spending cuts,” Obama said.
For now, though, those spending cuts are here to stay.