WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Thursday called on President Barack Obama to help Congress avoid the automatic budget cuts that kick in in 2013.
The so-called supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement on long-term debt reduction last month could trigger substantial cuts across the entire federal budget, including the Pentagon.
Boehner said Republicans are "ready to work" with Obama to "find common ground on jobs, including an extension of the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance and that offer still stands," but he said there is still no agreement on how to pay for those things.
"We have a $15 trillion national debt. We're going to add another $1.3 trillion worth of debt to it this year. And this issue has to be addressed and it has to be addressed now," Boehner said at a news conference in Washington. "Yes, we've got the sequester [that] kicks in in about 13 months, but no one really wants to go there. The secretary of defense has made it clear that, if those defense cuts were to go into action, that it would gut our military.
"So, I really believe that the president of the United States has a responsibility here, as well. He's the commander in chief. He knows what those cuts will mean to the military and, so I … frankly believe the Congress still must work with the president to find a solution to our long-term debt," Boehner said.