Obama signs appropriations bill

March 26, 2013 at 7:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) -- President Obama signed a continuing appropriations bill Tuesday that will keep the U.S. government running for six months, the White House said.

The measure, passed by Congress last week, means there will be no government shutdown this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Spending will remain at current levels under the continuing resolution.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters during his daily briefing in Washington that the president still plans to submit a budget the week of April but declined to specify which day of the week.

Carney also sought to separate the continuing resolution from the issue of sequestration.

"There's no question that we believe regular folks out there are being unnecessarily harmed by imposition of the sequester -- which was designed by Democrats and Republicans purposefully never to become law, to be filled with nonsensical approaches to deficit reduction," Carney said.

"And yet here it is. So we would love to see Republicans change their mind about imposition of the sequester. We would welcome a change of heart, maybe a change back to the position they held for much of 2012, which was sequester's imposition would be cataclysmic and terrible for the economy and for our national defense -- that is what they said at the time -- instead of doing what they did on Jan. 1 ... instead of doing it, which was to postpone or delay the implementation of sequester with a balanced buy-down, which they were willing to do two months ago and now are suddenly unwilling to do -- or recently became suddenly unwilling to do. We would welcome a reversal of that position."

Carney said Obama has offered proposals multiple times "to eliminate the sequester entirely, to do that in a balanced way, to do that in a way that asks those who are well-off and well-connected to participate in further deficit reduction."

When a reporter suggested the president has lost that debate, Carney responded, "No, absolutely not," and Obama believes a compromise is still achievable.

"It's going to be hard, because as we've seen in the House, there is an embrace of -- by some -- of the idea that the well-off and well-connected should not only be held harmless, but they should get a huge tax cut," Carney said.

"Republicans chose to impose the sequester. So if you're asking me does the president regret that Republicans would not make a common-sense, balanced proposition to postpone or eliminate the sequester -- you bet. Is he continuing to work with lawmakers of both parties on a bigger deal that would not just eliminate the sequester, but reduce our deficit beyond the $4 trillion target that we've all talked about? Yes, he is. And he hopes that Republicans will go along with that, because the American people overwhelmingly support it."

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