WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama voiced his displeasure with not getting a deal done to avoid the sequester cuts.
Following a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House Friday, Obama said the nation shouldn’t be making “dumb and arbitrary” cuts.
“Let’s be clear: None of this is necessary,” Obama said. “It’s happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. We shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things.”
The president said he recognized the challenges House Speaker John Boehner faces within the Republican Party in trying to get a deal done, even joking that some GOP caucus members should “not paint horns on my head.”
Obama said that the $85 billion in sequester cuts will not lead to a financial crisis but “people will be hurt” by the cuts.
The president got terse with a reporter when he was questioned if he could have done more to avoid Friday’s sequester cuts.
“What more do you think I should do?” Obama said.
Obama met for less than an hour Friday morning with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
Boehner’s office said he and McConnell told Obama they’re willing to close tax loopholes but only to lower taxes overall, not to replace spending cuts. Obama and congressional leaders have agreed that Congress should pass a bill funding the government beyond the end of March while they keep working on a way to replace the spending cuts, Boehner’s office said.
“The president got his tax hikes on January 1st,” Boehner said bluntly after the meeting with Obama. “The discussion about revenue in my view is over. It’s about taking on the spending problem here in Washington.”
On Thursday, two proposals aimed at blunting the blame over the cuts – one Democratic and the other Republican – were rejected in the Senate.
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