Skip to main content


If the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off. Firefighters and food inspectors could also find themselves out of work – leaving our communities vulnerable. Programs like Head Start would be cut, and lifesaving research into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s could be scaled back. Small businesses could be prevented from getting the resources and support they need to keep their doors open.  People with disabilities who are waiting for their benefits could be forced to wait even longer. All our economic progress could be put at risk.
In this morning's weekly address, President Obama outlined the background of budget negotiations with conservatives, laid out what's at stake and warned the American people of the dangers of letting the sequester take hold March 1. Some of the most drastic cuts, he said, could affect the military.
And then there’s the impact on our military readiness. Already, the threat of deep cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf. As our military leaders have made clear, changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And we will be forced to make even more tough decisions in the weeks ahead if Congress fails to act.
But, the president said, there's good news! A couple of months ago, we teetered on the same edge of danger—and Democrats and Republicans came together with a short-term solution. Which they can do again, he said: "This time, Congress should pass a similar set of balanced cuts and close more tax loopholes until they can find a way to replace the sequester with a smarter, longer-term solution."

But there's bad news, too:

...the current Republican plan puts the burden of avoiding those cuts mainly on seniors and middle-class families. They would rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy.
He closed with a direct "message to Congress":
Let’s keep working together to solve this problem. And let’s give our workers and our businesses the support they need to grow and thrive.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
February 9, 2013

Hi, everybody. Over the last few years, Democrats and Republicans have come together and cut our deficit by more than $2.5 trillion through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. That’s more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists and elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt.

I believe we can finish the job the same way we’ve started it – with a balanced mix of more spending cuts and more tax reform. And the overwhelming majority of the American people agree – both Democrats and Republicans.  

Now, my preference – and the preference of many Members of Congress – is to do that in a balanced, comprehensive way, by making sensible changes to entitlement programs and reforming our tax code. As we speak, both the House and Senate are working towards budget proposals that I hope will lay out this kind of balanced path going forward.

But the budget process takes time. And right now, if Congress doesn’t act by March 1st, a series of harmful, automatic cuts to job-creating investments and defense spending – also known as the sequester – are scheduled to take effect. And the result could be a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole.

If the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off. Firefighters and food inspectors could also find themselves out of work – leaving our communities vulnerable.  Programs like Head Start would be cut, and lifesaving research into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s could be scaled back. Small businesses could be prevented from getting the resources and support they need to keep their doors open.  People with disabilities who are waiting for their benefits could be forced to wait even longer. All our economic progress could be put at risk.

And then there’s the impact on our military readiness. Already, the threat of deep cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf. As our military leaders have made clear, changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And we will be forced to make even more tough decisions in the weeks ahead if Congress fails to act.

The good news is, there’s another option. Two months ago, we faced a similar deadline, and instead of making deep, indiscriminate cuts that would have cost us jobs and slowed down our recovery, Democrats and Republicans came together and made responsible cuts and manageable changes to our tax code that will bring down our deficit. This time, Congress should pass a similar set of balanced cuts and close more tax loopholes until they can find a way to replace the sequester with a smarter, longer-term solution.

Right now, most Members of Congress – including many Republicans – don’t think it’s a good idea to put thousands of jobs at risk and do unnecessary damage to our economy. And yet the current Republican plan puts the burden of avoiding those cuts mainly on seniors and middle-class families. They would rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy.

Over the last few years, we’ve made good progress towards reducing our deficit in a balanced way. There’s no reason we can’t keep chipping away at this problem. And there’s certainly no reason that middle-class families and small businesses should suffer just because Washington couldn’t come together and eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes, or government programs that just don’t work. At a time when economists and business leaders from across the spectrum have said that our economy is poised for progress, we shouldn’t allow self-inflicted wounds to put that progress in jeopardy.

So my message to Congress is this: let’s keep working together to solve this problem. And let’s give our workers and our businesses the support they need to grow and thrive. Thanks, and have a great weekend.
 

###
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I liked reading about this other speech (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask

    I never even bothered with the Dr. Wingnut intro that the conservatives are passing around, bu this take At Prayer Breakfast, Obama Issues Call for Humility was a good story.

  •  What are the odds they can throw it out altogether (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    Everybody hates it on both sides, CAN they just dump it? There was talk about this the other day, does anyone have an update on the possibility?

    New Arizona State Motto; "Yeah, but it's a dry hate!"

    by Fordmandalay on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:22:20 AM PST

    •  If they don't Canada will be able to buy the (0+ / 0-)

      remains of the US at a bargain price and fix it so we all do not have to move there.

      I like your signature, Fordmandalay, I grew up in Aridzona and the Arizona I was raised in is not the one I see now. The one I see now gives me the dry heaves.

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:39:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jobs should be 1st. Spending cuts & tax hikes can (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie C, cocinero, snoopydawg, snideelf

    Wait.

  •  They're baaack! remember Michele Bachmann's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999

    SotU response. Now, in addition to Rubio, Randy Paul will be given a teabaggers response!

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:35:48 AM PST

  •  This is a rehearsal for capitulation. (5+ / 0-)

    When the President leads with how awful the sequester is, the fuck-everything-but-defense majorities in both houses know they can get what they want.  Not for the first time, I have to place my faith in the Teahadist Caucus form whom Draconian isn't good enough.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:38:24 AM PST

  •  Senator Huckelberry with a Pipewrench (0+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:46:46 AM PST

  •  But it was the Administration's (6+ / 0-)

    idea to have the sequester rather than a deal. A bad idea for sure, but his idea nonetheless.

  •  GOP will not cut a deal pre-deadline (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam I Am

    because they want to blame Obama for it and knock down his public approval ratings a bit.  However, the GOP has no real end game and no unified approach, so this thing is likely to become very messy.  There will be a GOP cave at some point, but probably not before some additional damage has been inflicted on the economy.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:37:35 AM PST

  •  dems lose by not crediting limbaugh for sequester (0+ / 0-)

    limbaugh was the loudest single voice for months before the debt ceiling "crisis" convincing the teabaggers that it was okay to default- he was the biggest source of their rationalization  and denial, yet he skates on that responsibilty.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:44:04 AM PST

  •  These Aren't Deep Cuts to the Military (3+ / 0-)

    This part is completely bogus:

    And then there’s the impact on our military readiness. Already, the threat of deep cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf. As our military leaders have made clear, changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And we will be forced to make even more tough decisions in the weeks ahead if Congress fails to act.
    Our official military budget is almost $700 billion this year. To that you can add about $100 billion for operations, and about another hundred billion for "homeland security", the Department of Energy (which houses the nukes), and various other security-related spending.

    Sensible countries spend far less. The total for the next five largest military budgets in the world is on the order of $400 billion. Cutting even $55 billion this year is really trimming around the edges.

    These are not deep cuts.

    And, BTW, what our "military leaders" say has to be taken in the context of reality. It is their job to take an order like "cut spending by $35 billion this year" and translate it into a strategy that does not affect our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world.

    One easy way to cut the military budget without affecting readiness would be to get rid of outsourced military services. Whenever you outsource a government service the taxpayers end up paying twice. You pay for the service and then you pay for the profits.

    So, what I want to know is whether they are going to start in-sourcing some of these contracts, so that we can get back to spending that fits in the budget. Our target should be the 5X level. How is this President going to get there?

  •  Going in the Wrong Direction, Again (3+ / 0-)

    Here's the President, going in the wrong direction again:

    I believe we can finish the job the same way we’ve started it – with a balanced mix of more spending cuts and more tax reform. Now, my preference – and the preference of many Members of Congress – is to do that in a balanced, comprehensive way, by making sensible changes to entitlement programs and reforming our tax code.
    He's still talking about making cuts. The natural result of cutting is that eventually you have nothing.

    People are entitled to what they get from entitlement programs. That's why they call them entitlement programs. And the reason people are entitle to that money is:

    (A) Because they paid in (I'm thinking of Social Security or Medicare, for example), or
    (B) Because they aren't paid enough (I'm thinking of Medicaid and similar programs).
    Cutting government spending doesn't get rid of the problem. It just shifts the problem to the taxpayers. It just offloads that problem onto the people who have the least ability to pay for it.

    In exchange for cuts to "entitlement programs" there has to be a balance. The balance that has to happen is more money going to the people with the problems so that they can afford to pay to deal with them.

    So, for example, if you are going to cut Medicare, then you should move healthcare to a publicly-funded system. Because then people who now qualify for Medicare would get healthcare funding through a fair system of payments (collected as part of a progressive tax). In exchange for cutting Medicare I want to see the elimination of for-profit health insurance. This is what I mean by "solving the problem".

    I think it is entirely fair to ask the President, "If you are going to cut social programs, how are you also going to solve the problems they address?"

    So far, I have heard nothing from the President or the Republicans how they intend to accomplish that feat.

  •  Only way (0+ / 0-)

    Sequester is the only way to give the pentagon a haircut.  It may be 50 years before this chance comes again.  As Gov. Dean said, Congress can backfill programs after the sequester starts.

    I believe no one in D.C. wants the sequester; BUT, the GOP is too extreme to make a reasonable compromise.  So it will happen anyway.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site