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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media after meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House, March 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama said that no agreement was reached with Republicans to avoid the sequester that will trigger automatic domestic and defense cuts.
After a brief meeting this morning between President Obama and Congressional leaders, the parties emerged resolved that there will be no deal to avoid $85 billion in budget cuts under the moniker of “sequestration.”
The meeting comes a half day after the Senate killed the last two bills aimed at averting the “fiscal cliff.” In an address to the nation immediately following the meeting, Obama warned that these cuts would cause a half-percent drop in economic growth and the loss of 750,000 jobs. “None of this is necessary. It’s happening because a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit,” the President said, referring to Republicans resistance to raising taxes on high earners.
"Let's make it clear, the president got his tax hike on Jan. 1. The discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. It's about taking on the spending problem in Washington,” said House Majority Leader John Boehner in a press conference shortly after the meeting.
The inability for the parties to get together to avoid what were supposed to be cuts so deep neither side of the aisle could tolerate them, has many worried about another looming economic debate: expiration of the government funding resolution on March 27. Failure to agree to a continuing budget resolution could cause the shutdown of the U.S. government, but in the current climate of partisanship, is even that enough to drive Democrats and Republicans to compromise?
Scott Horsley, NPR White House correspondent
Lisa Mascaro, Congressional Reporter, Los Angeles Times