No quick solution in sight for US spending cut issue



REUTERS

Published — Monday 4 March 2013

Last update 4 March 2013 2:02 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has reached out to Republican and Democratic lawmakers in search of a resolution to automatic across-the-board US government spending cuts, a White House official said yesterday, but Republican congressional leaders offered little hope for a quick solution.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, both expressed confidence that there would not be a government shutdown at the end of the month amid the showdown with Obama over federal spending.
“I don’t think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved,” Boehner said on the NBC program “Meet the Press” as he put the blame squarely on Obama and his fellow Democrats.
“It’s time for the president and Senate Democrats to get serious about the long-term spending problem that we have,” Boehner said.
Obama late on Friday formally ordered broad cuts in government spending after he and congressional Republicans failed to reach a deal to avert the automatic reductions that could dampen economic growth and curb military readiness.
Government agencies now will begin to cut a total of $ 85 billion from their budgets from now through Sept. 30 under automatic reductions known as “sequestration.” Half of the cuts will fall on the Pentagon.
Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Obama spoke on Saturday afternoon with a select group of lawmakers to try to find a path out of the current fiscal crisis — a “bipartisan compromise.” He did not identify the lawmakers to whom Obama spoke.
“He’s reaching out to Democrats who understand we have to make serious progress on long-term entitlement reform, and Republicans who realize that if we had that type of entitlement reform, they’d be willing to have tax reform that raises revenues to lower the deficit,” Sperling said on the CNN program “State of the Union.”
Obama did not call McConnell or Boehner, Sperling said, noting that the president had met with them on Friday in a meeting that failed to resolve the issue.
McConnell played down the severity of the automatic cuts, describing them as modest.
“We’re willing to talk to him (Obama) about reconfiguring the same amount of spending reduction over the next six months,” McConnell said on CNN. “The American people look at this and say, ‘Gee, I’ve had to cut my budget more than this,’ — probably on numerous occasions over the last four years because we’ve had such a tepid economy now for four long years.”
Congress and Obama could still halt the cuts in the weeks to come, but neither side has expressed any confidence they will do so. Both Democrats and Republicans set the automatic cuts in motion during feverish deficit-reduction efforts in August 2011.
Democrats predicted the cuts could soon cause air-traffic delays, meat shortages as food safety inspections slow down, losses to thousands of federal contractors and damage to local economies across the country, particularly in the hardest-hit regions around military installations.
At the heart of Washington’s persistent fiscal crises is disagreement over how to slash the budget deficit and gain control of the $ 16 trillion national debt, bloated over the years by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and government stimulus for the ailing economy.
Obama wants to close the fiscal gap with spending cuts and tax hikes. Republicans do not want to concede again on taxes after doing so in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” at the New Year.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...
JEDDAH: A local survey found that almost half of Saudis abide by rules and laws in public places outside the Kingdom more than they do inside the country.More than one-third of the respondent sample said they violate road traffic signs and directions...
DAMMAM: A 50 percent decline in the prices of some types of fish in the Dammam Central Market was noted compared to the previous month.Fish sellers attributed this decline to an increased fish supply and fall in demand from hotels and consumers durin...
RIYADH: In a two-day operation, police arrested 343 beggars including women and children during the holy month of Ramadan.A police officer said the raid was carried out in the Salehiya district and 220 of those arrested were women from Ethiopia. “Mos...
RIYADH: Hotels in the capital have made special arrangements by setting up Ramadan tents, where diners can visit to begin and break their fast with special suhoor and iftar meals during the ongoing fasting month.As the Ramadan tent is a popular pheno...
JEDDAH: Kaddadin, or unlicensed transporters, say there is good money to be made during Ramadan especially in transporting Umrah pilgrims from Jeddah to Makkah and back.During this month the number of visitors doubles or triples which means the price...
RIYADH: The holy month of Ramadan is lively at night following Taraweeh prayers. Nights are turned into days during the month in the industrial area where there is a large concentration of automobile workshops.The industrial areas are well illuminate...
RIYADH: The Saudi man behind the green project that ensured 3,400 trees in Khurais in the Eastern Province for a government firm has been approached by a Kuwaiti oil company for a similar project. “After learning about the project in the Eastern Prov...
RIYADH: A total of 1,300 Gambian pilgrims will come to the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Ambassador Omar Gibril Sallah said on Thursday.“We hope that the pilgrims will observe the fifth pillar of Islam in peace and harmony and may Allah accept th...
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) have launched a traffic safety campaign, to reduce the number of accidents that cause disability.Prince Sultan bin Salman, the SCTNH...
JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a period when non-Muslim expatriates too abstain from eating, drinking or smoking during the daytime out of respect for Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk and also because it is healthy. The expatriates are also...
A policeman was killed in an anti-terror operation on Friday in the western city of Taif, according to the interior ministry. An exchange of fire resulted in the death of the policeman after a raid to arrest a wanted person, state news agency SPA quo...
RIYADH: Customs authorities at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah have foiled an attempt to smuggle 52,850 Xanax capsules into the country.The drug, an anti-depressant, banned in the Kingdom, was found hidden under the clo...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has ordered that two men face trial for allegedly insulting the late King Abdullah.Quoting reliable sources, a local online publication said that King Salman has also barred Mohsin Al-Awaji and Ab...

Stay Connected

Facebook