Obama: Unable to avoid spending cuts

March 2, 2013 12:55:21 AM PST
All signs point to $85 billion in federal spending cuts taking effect Friday. President Obama and republican lawmakers failed to make any progress on how to avoid the cuts.

It was a last ditch effort that nobody really put much faith in. After meeting with bipartisan congressional leaders, president Obama said Friday he couldn't force congress to reach a deal to avoid those $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that will go into effect at midnight.

"I am not a dictator, I'm the president," Obama said.

The White House has been ringing the alarm bells for weeks. Fewer federal meat inspectors, to national security, to flight delays and kids dropped from their head start programs are some of what's at risk.

"Cuts in stuff involving young children shouldn't be made because the programs for young children build adults that they will be in the future," Obama said.

Even criminals set free due to lack of federal prosecutors. But today, the president acknowledged that not all of the cuts will be felt immediately and they won't be felt by everyone.

Obama said, "This is not going to be a(n) apocalypse, I think as some people have said. It's just dumb."

The president says he's put forward a plan that tackles entitlement reform and achieves serious spending cuts. But it's his push on taxes that has republicans fired up.

John Boehner (R) Speaker of the House said, "Let's make it clear that the president got his tax hikes on January 1st. This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over."

Even if the president and congressional leaders had been able to come up with an agreement it really wouldn't have mattered.

For days, there's been a sense of surrender in Washington. The halls of congress were empty Friday and lawmakers were gone for the weekend, so there was no chance of a vote by midnight.

The president did say that perhaps congress could figure something out over the next few weeks and adjust the most drastic of these cuts.


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