President Obama warns no budget deal means economic pain

Lesley Clark

President Obama took to a White House lectern to warn that he and Congress' failure to meet an agreement on avoiding $85 billion in spending cuts means "many middle class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways."

"All of this will cause a ripple effect throughout our economy," Obama told reporters, minutes after an 11th-hour meeting between he and congressional leaders failed to yield an agreement. "Layoffs and pay cuts means that people have less money in their pockets, and that means that they have less money to spend at local businesses. That means lower profits, that means fewer hires."

He warned that "the longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage to our economy, a slow grind that will intensify with each passing day."

He put the blame squarely on Republicans for not agreeing to his call for a mix of spending cuts and tax revenue and said he hopes that as Congress starts hearing from constituents "who are being negatively impacted," they will come back to the table.

"It may take a couple of weeks, it may take a couple of months, but I'm just going to keep pushing on it," he said.

He dismissed suggestions that he could do more, saying he's offered proposals that his fellow Democrats oppose, including cutting entitlements.

"It's not as if Democrats aren't being asked to do anything to compromise," Obama said. "I mean, there are members of my party who violently disagree with the notion that we should do anything on Medicare. And I'm willing to say to them, 'I disagree with you.' "

Lesley Clark
McClatchy newspapers