3 days left: US braces for $85 bn in budget cuts
Top Republicans were lining up behind a plan that wouldn't replace the cuts but would give Obama's agency heads, such as incoming Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, greater discretion in distributing the cuts. The idea is that money could be transferred from lower-priority accounts.
But Obama rejected the idea, saying there's no smart way to cut such a large chunk from the budget over just seven months _ the amount of time left in the fiscal year.
"You don't want to have to choose between, `Let's see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?''' Obama said. "You can't gloss over the pain and the impact it's going to have on the economy.''
Giving the Obama administration more authority could take pressure off of Congress to address the cuts. But the White House is also keenly aware that it would give Republicans an opening to blame Obama, instead of themselves, for every unpopular cut he makes.
Obama wants any deficit-reduction deal to include both targeted cuts and tax increases, but Republican congressional leaders insist on reduced spending alone. Obama is proposing closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Many Republicans say they are done raising revenue after letting taxes on top earners increase in December.
In the House, Speaker John Boehner said he'd already done his part, saying the House twice passed bills to replace the
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