Before Obama took to the podium, congressional Republicans already had issued statements vowing to cancel out the $600 billion in automatic cuts. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCainJohn McCainTrump nominees dodge 'climate denier' charge Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Trump fails to mention Clinton in inaugural address MORE (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report Graham: Trump would make mistake in not punishing Russia Graham to vote for Trump’s EPA pick MORE all promised to craft plans to void those reductions.
Obama addressed such promises directly, saying he had an answer for them: "No," the president said sternly.
Obama threatened to veto any bill Congress sends him that seeks to void the automatic defense cuts or an equal amount of domestic spending cuts.
"There will be no easy off-ramps on this one," Obama said, adding "we need to keep the pressure up" to find a compromise on a broader debt-reduction plan.
The "only way" the deep automatic cuts will be avoided, the president said, if is "Congress gets back to work."