President Barack Obama in a much-hyped press conference Tuesday afternoon asked Congress to come up with tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue and short-term spending cuts to delay automatic spending cuts scheduled to kick in March 1.
In short, he repeated the usual: “Congress must ___,” “We can’t let ___,” “So let’s get this done,” etc.
The president said Tuesday he still believes the nation should move forward with a broad package for tax reform and spending cuts.
“Our economy is headed in the right direction. And it will stay that way as long as there are no self-inflicted wounds,” he said.
But he says if Congress can’t act before the March 1 deadline, lawmakers should at least pass a smaller package to stave off the across-the-board cuts.
“If Congress can’t act immediately on a bigger package by the time the sequester is set to go into effect,” they should delay the “damaging effects” of the sequester, he said.
“There’s no reason that the jobs of thousands of American who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks in Washington couldn’t come together to eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes or government programs that we agree need some reform,” he added.
Obama says the proposals he offered House Speaker John Boehner late last year during discussions over the so-called fiscal cliff are still on the table.
“Let’s keep on chipping away at this problem together, as Democrats and Republicans, to give our workers and our businesses the support that they need to thrive in the weeks and months ahead,” Obama said.
He isn’t placing a time span or a dollar amount on the short-term plan. Officials say he will leave that to Congress.
Meanwhile, in a statement released earlier Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reasserted the GOP’s position that new revenue would not be part of any deal to avoid the sequester.
“President Obama first proposed the sequester and insisted it become law,” the statement reads.
“Republicans have twice voted to replace these arbitrary cuts with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national defense. We believe there is a better way to reduce the deficit, but Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes,” it adds.
“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.”
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The AP contributed to this report. Featured image courtesy Getty Images.