Obama To Call For Small Package Of Cuts, Tax Changes To Head Off 'Sequester'
Looking to use what influence he has to head off deep, automatic spending cuts set to kick in on March 1, President Obama Tuesday afternoon will "call on Congress to act to avoid the sequester and reduce the deficit in a balanced way." the White House says.
Officials tell the White House press corps that the president "will call on Congress to pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms to avoid the economically harmful consequences of the sequester for a few months." He's scheduled to issue that call around 1:15 p.m. ET.
As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports for our Newscast Desk:
"Congress created the sequester as a forcing mechanism. Across-the-board cuts would only take effect if lawmakers failed to agree on a deficit reduction plan. These cuts were designed to be so draconian that Congress would have no choice but to cut the deficit.
"That's not how it worked out.
"Congress failed to reach an agreement, and now the sequester is looming. The White House believes it's already hurting economic growth.
"So today, President Obama will call on Congress to pass a small package of spending cuts and tax changes.
"A White House official says this is intended to give more time to reach a solution that permanently avoids the sequester and significantly reduces the deficit."
We'll watch for more news from the president's statement.