Obama says he will veto efforts to undo cuts

Nov. 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The congressional supercommittee Monday admitted it failed to find a compromise to trim the U.S. budget deficit $1.2 trillion in the next decade.

President Obama threatened to veto any effort to undo automatic cuts triggered by that failure.

Deficit reduction negotiators held a flurry of meetings as Republicans and Democrats traded charges of who was to blame for the impasse on finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Failure by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will trigger $1.2 trillion in spending cuts divided between defense and domestic spending beginning in 2013.

"After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today [Monday] that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline," the committee admitted on its Web side.

"Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve." ...

Obama subsequently warned any lawmakers tempted to pass any bills aimed at softening the automatic spending cuts, Roll Call reported.

"My message to them is simple: No," he said.

"I will veto any effort" to eliminate the automatic cuts without a balanced deal with equivalent deficit reduction, the president said.

Speaking in the White House briefing room, Obama urged Congress to do what its 12-member supercommittee could not.

"The only way these spending cuts won't take place is if Congress gets back to work" and hashes out a balanced package, he said. "There will be no easy off-ramps."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was "disappointed Republicans never found the courage to ignore Tea Party extremists" while House Speaker John Boehner said the House will "forge ahead with the commitments we have made to reduce government spending."

Seven supercommittee members -- three Republicans and four Democrats -- met in the morning to try to reach a deal by midnight to send to the package to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring so it can be presented by Wednesday, the committee's official deadline, The Hill reported.

After the meeting, the Republicans retired to Portman's office, The Hill said. Aides to Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky joined the supercommittee members about 30 minutes later.

The supercommittee's apparent failure will trigger $1.2 trillion in draconian cuts beginning in 2013 across all government departments, including defense. Some lawmakers have called for a reconfiguration of the cuts to spare the Defense Department.

Earlier, Boehner blamed Obama for the panel's failure, The Hill reported.

The speaker's office distributed a memo Monday that says the supercommittee "was unable to reach agreement because President Obama and Washington Democrats insisted on dramatic tax hikes on American job creators, which would make our economy worse."

White House spokesman Jay Carney laid blame on the Republicans deciding they are "unwilling to do what the American people say they believe should be done, which is ask the very wealthiest Americans, millionaires and billionaires, to pay a little bit extra so that we can achieve the kind of deficit reduction and long-term debt control that we need."

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