Republicans have already responded, with House Speaker John Boehner saying he would rather proceed with the draconian austerity of the budget sequester than agree to a compromise including both revenue and spending cuts. Boehner said he would agree to replace the spending cuts with a different set of spending cuts, but according to his spokesman that would mean cutting programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to pay for defense spending.
Follow along for live updates as the president delivers his remarks and for the discussion in the comments.
10:13 AM PT: Funny note: Obama's statement comes at roughly the same time as Eric Cantor is delivering his fourth attempt to rebrand the Republican Party. And yes, it has Republicans pissed off because nothing is more important than letting the GOP try to reinvent itself.
10:17 AM PT: President Obama takes the podium.
10:19 AM PT: Obama starts by outlining signs of economic growth in the private sector, but says that political dysfunction is an economic threat. "Deep, indiscriminate cuts" will hurt the economy and cost jobs, says Obama. "The good news is that this doesn't have to happen."
10:20 AM PT: The president says $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction has been achieved, which he says is more than halfway towards his goal of $4 trillion. He says everything he's offered to Boehner in the past are still on the table. "I've offered sensible reforms to Medicare and other entitlements." At the mention of "Bowles-Simpson" a Camera makes a very strange whirring noise. Laughter ensues.
10:22 AM PT: "In order to achieve the full $4 trillion of deficit reductions, these modest reforms to our social insurance programs must go hand-in-hand" with revenue increases from closing loopholes. "If we're serious about paying down the deficit, the savings we achieve from tax reform should be used pay down the deficit."
10:23 AM PT: Basically, Obama is saying that he still wants a Grand Bargain. However, he says that the sequester is scheduled to go into effect on March 1. And he knows that a Grand Bargain isn't possible by then. So, at the very least, Congress should act now to delay the sequester to provide more time. To accomplish this, a set of smaller revenue increases and spending cuts should be enacted, he says, to replace prevent the automatic cuts from kicking in.
10:24 AM PT: And with that, the statement is over. The President leaves behind Jay Carney to take questions from the media.