President Obama Warns Sequester Will Cause Job Losses
President Barack Obama is warning that "people will lose their jobs" if across-the-board budget cuts take effect as scheduled next week.
Obama says the $85 billion in cuts -- known as the sequester -- are "severe" and says they won't help the economy and won't create jobs.
Obama is calling the across-the-board cuts a "meat cleaver" approach to reducing the deficit. He says the cuts would impact the nation's military readiness and investment in areas like education.
He's calling on Republicans to back a plan proposed by Senate Democrats that would offset the sequester through a combination of increased tax revenue and targeted budget cuts. GOP lawmakers are opposed to more tax revenue, saying Obama got the tax increases he wanted during the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner says the debate over increased revenue "is now closed."
He's responding to the latest salvo from President Barack Obama, who today warned that the jobs of essential government workers are on the line because Republicans are unwilling to raise taxes to reduce deficits.
With a March first deadline approaching, Democrats and Republicans are in an apparent stalemate over how to avoid $85 billion in immediate cuts. Obama says government workers who'd be affected would include furloughed FBI agents. And he said communities would see reduced spending to pay police and fire personnel and teachers.
House Republicans have proposed an alternative to the immediate cuts -- targeting some spending and extending some reductions over a longer period of time. They've also said they're willing to make changes in the tax code, and eliminate loopholes and tax subsidies. But they've said their changes would be aimed at reducing tax rates. Obama won an increase at the start of the year, when Congress increased the upper tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.
In a statement after Obama's remarks, Boehner said, "Spending is the problem, spending must be the focus." (AP)