President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders Friday, the day across-the-board spending cuts are scheduled to take place.
It will be the first meeting between Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. to speak about the reductions.
“The meeting Friday is an opportunity for us to visit with the president about how we can all keep our commitment to reduce Washington spending,'' said Don Stewart, a McConnell spokesman. "With a $16.6 trillion national debt, and a promise to the American people to address it, one thing is perfectly clear: we will cut Washington spending. We can either secure those reductions more intelligently, or we can do it the President’s way with across-the board cuts. But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to.”
The reductions – known inside the Beltway as sequestration – stem from a compromise between both parties to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in 2011. Both sides agreed to the cuts as a last resort to try to motivate themselves to act. It did not work.
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The first round of reductions – postponed from January – is estimated to be $85 billion. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that agencies will reduce spending by about $44 billion, with the remaining cuts coming in future years.