White House to GOP: ‘Come to the table’ for sequester negotiations

The White House on Sunday sought to pressure Republicans to “come to the table” to strike a deal to avert sequester cuts slated to hit at the end of the month.

In a blog post on the White House website, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer argued the cuts would affect the nation’s job creation, national security, and economic growth. 

{mosads}Pfeiffer took aim at congressional Republicans, blasting their call for offsetting cuts as a “my way or the highway approach.”

The two parties are split on how to best address the $85 billion in automatic cuts. Democrats, including President Obama, have said they want to offset that amount with a mixture of spending cuts and tax revenues gained by eliminating certain deductions and loopholes. Republicans have said they are unwilling to accept new taxes as part of a deal. 

“If Republicans in Congress want spending cuts, there is a simple way to get them that will not imperil our economy, our national security, or vital programs that middle class families depend on: come to the table for a balanced plan that also closes loopholes for millionaires and billionaires,” Pfeiffer argued Sunday. “The unbalanced Republican approach does not reflect our values as a nation, and would not help our economy continue the important progress we are making. It’s time for Congress to act.”

Republicans, meanwhile, say that they already agreed to tax increases during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations in January. They also argue the White House and congressional Democrats need to present a plan that would avert the sequester, arguing the House of Representatives has already voted on two such plans.

“The president, you know, he’s the one who proposed the sequester in the first place. So again, I’m questioning where this thing is going because he’s not moved in a serious way, but we remain anxiously waiting for him to come to the table to work with us to solve this problem,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

Pfeiffer, for his part, said “the notion that President Obama hasn’t put forward a solution to deal with these looming cuts is false.”

“The President’s last offer to Speaker Boehner [R-Ohio] in December remains on the table – an offer that meets the Republicans halfway on spending and on revenues, and would permanently turn off the sequester and put us on a fiscally sustainable path,” Pfeiffer said.

In actuality, neither side seems to have made progress on a plan that has a chance to proceed through both chambers of Congress, leaving the impression that implementation of the sequester is increasingly likely. That’s despite both sides acknowledging that the sequester is likely to lead to mass layoffs and furloughs for federal employees and a reduction in critical services.

“These indiscriminate reductions do not make sense. And we’re going to hurt a lot of people,” Cantor said.

On Saturday, President Obama said in his weekly address sequestration would deal a “huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole.”

Tags Boehner Eric Cantor

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