Cuts in place, Obama and GOP brace for next fight
WASHINGTON - Severe spending cuts now the law of the land, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans refused Saturday to concede any culpability for failing to stave off what both parties acknowledged was a foolhardy way to slash $85 billion in federal spending.
The still-fragile economy braced itself for the gradual but potentially grave impact of the across-the-board cuts, which took effect Friday night at the stroke of Obama's pen. Hours earlier, he and congressional leaders emerged from a White House meeting no closer to an agreement.
Even as they pledged a renewed effort to retroactively undo the spending cuts, both parties said the blame rests squarely on the other for any damage the cuts might inflict. There were no indications that either side was wavering from entrenched positions that for weeks had prevented progress on a deal to find a way out: Republicans refusing any deal with more tax revenue and Democrats snubbing any deal without it.
"None of this is necessary," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "It's happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit."
The president said the cuts would cause "a ripple effect across the economy" that would worsen the longer they stay in place, eventually costing more than 750,000 jobs and disrupting the lives of middle-class families.
In the Republican-controlled House, GOP lawmakers washed their hands of the mess, arguing that bills they passed in the last Congress to avert the cuts absolved them of any responsibility. Those bills passed with little to no Democratic support and were never taken up by the Senate.
"We've done the work and shown that these choices can be made in a responsible, thoughtful way," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington in the GOP address.
Obama was holding out hope that as Americans start feeling the effects of the sequester - the term used for the automatic spending cuts - public pressure will force lawmakers back to the table. Ever wary that such fiscal fiascos could jeopardize the rest of his second-term agenda, Obama vowed in his weekly address to keep pushing reforms on immigration, preschool, gun violence and transportation.
But attention was already turning to the next major budget hurdles, with less than a month to negotiate a plan to fund the government beyond March 27 and a debt-ceiling clash coming in May.
Hopes that a measure to undo the spending cuts could be wrapped into a March deal to keep the government running dimmed Friday when both Obama and House Speaker John Boehner said they'd prefer to keep the two issues separate.
"I'm hopeful that we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time," Boehner said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- Virginia reporter, cameraman killed on air; gunman also dies
- US economy surged at 3.7 percent rate in April-June quarter
- Dow, S&P, Nasdaq soar 4% despite China worries, but volatility expected to endure
- Affordable Care Act ‘Cadillace tax’ may prompt employers to trim health benefits
- Louisiana officer shot dead, 3 stabbed
- Kraft Heinz recalls more than 2M pounds of turkey bacon
- Pentagon probes ISIS assessment
- Staff in State Department found to send unsecured email, just like Clinton
- Ky. clerk loses appeal in gay marriage case
- Female sailors begin training for Navy submarine duty