News officially broke today that the “super committee” of six Democrats and six Republicans drafted to come up with a mutually agreed upon set of deficit-cutting compromises has failed in their mission. President Obama made a statement earlier today, marking the occasion in a rather solemn though not disastrous tone before blaming the Congress for their inability to work together to benefit the country. Obama focused primarily on the automatic spending cuts that will be triggered after the failure to come to an agreement, promising to veto any GOP efforts to block them.
Obama’s detractors have portrayed president as absent during the super committee negotiations, questioning the lack of White House leadership and involvement in the negotiations. For their part, the administration has claimed that the congressional leadership has asked that Obama and Speaker Boehner stay away from the negotiations after their failure to come to an agreement in late Summer of this year. The failure of congress to come up with any compromised agreement does appear to dovetail conveniently into predicted campaign agenda of the 2012 presidential race of a “do-nothing Congress.”
Watch the video of Obama’s statement below, with rough transcript to follow:
Good afternoon. As you all know, last summer I signed a law that will cut $1 trillion of spending in the next ten years. Part of that law required congress to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion by the end of this year. In September, I sent them a detailed plan that would have gone above and beyond that goal. The plan that would reduce deficit by additional $3 trillion by cutting spending, slowing the growth and Medicare and Medicare. Americans to pay their fair share. There were a number of other bipartisan plans to consider from democrats and republicans. All of which promoted a balanced approach. This approach to reducing the deficit. A report where everyone gets a little bit and does their fair share is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, Democrats, independents, and Republicans, supported by experts and economists from all across the political spectrum.
To their credit, many democrats in congress were willing to put the politics aside and commit to reasonable adjustments that would have reduced the cost of Medicare. As long as they were part of a balanced approach. Despite the broad agreement that exists for an approach, republicans in congress refused to listen to voice of reason and compromise coming from outside of Washington. They insist on protecting tax cuts for wealthiest 2% of Americans at any cost. Even if it means reducing the deficit for deep cut for education and medical research. At this point they won’t budge from the negotiating position.
So far, that refusal continues to be the stumbling block that prevented congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce the deficit. We are not in the same situation we were that we were in, in august. There is no eminent threat to us defaulting on the debt we owe. They are $1 trillion worth of spending cuts locked in. part of the law this summer stated if coverage could not reach an agreement there would be automatic cuts in 2013 divided equally between the domestic spending and defense spending. One way or another, we will be trimming the deficit by a total of at least $2.2 trillion over the next ten years. That is going to happen. One way or another, $1 trillion locked in. This congress needs to come comes up with $1.5 there, so far they have failed to do, or the sequester kicks in and the automatic spending cuts will occur that bring in the deficit reduction. We can find ways to make the economy grow, operating with a scalpel, not a hatchet. If not, if congress is willing to stick to the painful deal we made in august for automatic cuts.
Already some in congress trying to undue the automatic spending cuts. My message is simple. No. I will veto any effort to get rid of the automatic spending cuts domestic and expense spending. No easy off-ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise. Not turn off the pressure. Only way the spending cuts will not take place is if congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. That is what they need to do. That’s the job they promise to do. They have a year to figure it out. Although, congress has not come to an agreement yet. Nothing prevents them from coming up with an agreement in the days ahead. They can till come together around balanced plan. Democrats are prepared to do so. My expectation is there are some republicans still interested in preventing automatic cuts from taking place.
I am willing to create balanced plan for deficit reduction. We have a lot of work to do before this year. We have to cut taxes for workers and small business owners all across America. If we don’t ask, taxes will go up for every American starting next year. Middle class Americans can’t afford to lose $1,000 next year because congress won’t act. Members of congress have been fight something hard to protect tax break for the wealthy will fight as hard to protect mittal class families.
We need to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding the roads and bridges. We still need to put our teachers back in the classroom educating our kids. Everybody gets back to thanksgiving and time to get the work done for the American people. All around the country, Americans work hard to live within their means and meet their responsibilities. I know they expect Washington to do the same. Thanks
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