President Barack Obama called on Congress to agree to temporary spending cuts to avoid sequestration Tuesday, agreeing that “the full budget may not be finished before March 1.”
But much of the rhetoric in his nine-minute remarks this afternoon had been heard from both Obama and Press Secretary Jay Carney about the debt ceiling right up to when lawmakers agreed to its temporary extension earlier this year.
“We just can’t cut our way to prosperity,” Obama said, referring to the automatic cuts without accompanying tax increases for higher wage earners, “It’s not the right thing to do to the economy.”
In again insisting he has accepted a “balanced mixed” of spending cuts and that he supports what he called “sensible reform to Medicare and other entitlements,” Obama also said they must “go hand in hand with tax reform”—an obvious reference to taxes going up once more on the highest wage earners.
Earlier in the day, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) made it clear House Republicans would not go along with another tax increase.
“We believe there is a better way to reduce the deficit, but Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes. The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years,” Boehner said in a statement.
The sequester, which Obama first proposed, would heavily cut defense spending, with many military officials, government defense contractors and small businesses with ties to the defense industry, already laying off staff in anticipation for even more cutbacks.
“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,” Obama said.