Obama restarts negotiations with GOP on $85B sequestration cuts
WASHINGTON — After weeks without talks on the budget crisis, President Obama called Republican leaders on Thursday to discuss the harsh “sequestration” cuts to government spending due to begin at the end of next week.
In what might be just the start of long negotiations to prevent the $85 billion in cuts, Obama spoke to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The conversations were “good,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, but he declined to provide details.
A McConnell spokesman said it was the first outreach from Obama since the New Year's Eve “fiscal cliff” deal.
Unlike that impasse, which produced drama in Congress and stormy meetings in the White House, both sides have refrained from engaging in high-profile negotiations on how to avoid the government cuts, which few in Washington favor.
The reductions are set to begin on March 1, but their immediate effects are unlikely to be severe because they will be phased in gradually over seven months.
That lag could give politicians at least a few weeks to reach a solution before another budget trigger date — a deadline for funding the government — comes up at the end of March.
Republicans want to replace the across-the-board sequester cuts with more-targeted spending reductions.
But congressional Democrats have put forward a $110 billion plan that includes spending cuts and tax increases opposed by Republicans.
Obama has expressed doubt a deal can be struck by March 1.
In what looks like a coordinated campaign to win public support for a broader deficit-reduction package that includes more tax revenue, the White House and government agencies have warned in recent days the cuts could cause severe damage, curbing economic growth, leading to 750,000 lost jobs and decimating public services such as law enforcement and air traffic control.
But officials seemed to tone down some of those warnings as Obama made contact with Republicans.
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.
- Ukraine Declares Russian Invasion as Sanctions Threat Raised
- IMF chief investigated for negligence in 2008 case in France
- European satellites in wrong orbit paths
- Colombia drug lord’s most loyal assassin courts Hollywood upon early release from prison