Supercommittee needs to 'bite the bullet,' says President Obama

President Obama called on supercommittee members to "bite the bullet and do what needs to be done" during a press conference Sunday night.

Speaking from Hawaii where Obama is hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and negotiating the framework for a Pacific Rim free trade agreement, the president also urged lawmakers not to attempt to evade the automatic cuts triggered if the panel fails to agree to $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by their Nov. 23 deadline.

“My hope is that over the next several days, the congressional leadership on the supercommittee will go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done. The formula won’t change,” said Obama.

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“The whole idea of the sequester was that both sides would move off rigid positions. It feels as if people continue to stick with their rigid positions rather than solve the problem,” he said.

Concerns have grown that the deficit-reduction supercommittee will fail to reach an agreement. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, panel member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said that while the committee still had time to reach a deal, “we have no time to waste.” Toomey added that the panel’s negotiations were “at a difficult point." “I think we've got a ways to go, but I hope we can close that gap," he added.

The president though said he held out hope lawmakers would find a solution. “I still hold out the prospect that there will be a light bulb moment where everybody says ‘a-ha’ that's what we have got to do,” he said.



He cautioned though that both parties would need to compromise. “Prudent cuts have to be matched up with revenue,” he said. “This doesn't require radical changes to America or its way of life, it just means that we spread out the sacrifice,” he added.


The president though did not threaten to veto any attempt by lawmakers to evade the automatic cuts triggered if the panel cannot agree to a deal. Obama said he would not pledge to veto any proposal before a bill was in front of him.

The president also criticized Republican lawmakers for failing to move on his jobs growth proposals.

Last week, a bill to provide services for unemployed veterans passed the Senate, but GOP lawmakers have resisted efforts to pass other elements of the president’s American Jobs Act.

Obama said voters were “wondering about congressional leadership in failing to pass the jobs bill.” The failure to implement jobs measures, he said was “part of the reason why the American people aren’t feeling real good about Congress.”

He pledged though to continue to pressure lawmakers to pass his measures. Obama said it “may take until November to get it all done, it may take a new Congress to get it all done.”

He cautioned GOP leaders though that if jobs measures weren’t passed “I think we’ll have a different set of leaders in Congress.”

In his press conference, the president trumpeted efforts to promote trade among Pacific Rim nations saying the discussions would lead to increased U.S. exports and spur domestic job creation.