Visibly disappointed, President Barack Obama emphasized that middle-class Americans and businesses across the country will be significantly impacted by unnecessary budget cuts due to Republicans’ unwillingness to work for the people.
In a press conference held Friday morning, President Obama said that while he knows that the American people have the tenacity and will to get through the sequester as with past economic struggles, it should still be known that the sequester is definitively “unnecessary”:
“But Washington sure isn’t making it easy. At a time when our businesses have finally begun to get some traction, hiring new workers, bringing jobs back to America, we shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on like education and research and infrastructure and defense. It’s unnecessary, and at a time when too many Americans are still looking for work it’s inexcusable.”
The President then went on to explain what Americans can expect as the reality of the budget cuts take effect:
“Now, what’s important to understand is that not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. The pain, though, will be real.
“Businesses that work with the military, like the Virginia shipbuilder that I visited on Tuesday, may have to lay folks off. Communities near military bases will take a serious blow.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans who serve their country — Border Patrol agents, FBI agents, civilians who work at the Pentagon — all will suffer significant pay cuts and furloughs.”
And not surprisingly, this will directly impact our economy:
“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.
“The longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage to our economy, a slow grind that will intensify with each passing day. So economists are estimating that as a consequence of the sequester that we could see growth cut by over one half of 1 percent. It will cost about 750,000 jobs at a time when we should be growing jobs more quickly.”
And the President made sure to call out exactly what Republicans have been protecting in spite of the the American people:
“As recently as yesterday, they decided to protect special- interest tax breaks for the well-off and the well-connected, and they think that that’s apparently more important than protecting our military or middle-class families from the pain of these cuts.”
President Obama then took the opportunity to provide his solution to these “unnecessary” cuts:
“I do believe that we can and must replace these cuts with a more balanced approach that asks something from everybody. Smart spending cuts, entitlement reform, tax reform that makes the tax code more fair for families and businesses without raising tax rates.
“Also that we can responsibly lower the deficit without laying off workers or forcing parents to scramble for child care or slashing financial aid for college students.
“I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I don’t think that is partisan. It’s the kind of approach that I’ve proposed for two years. That’s what I ran on last year. The majority of the American people agree with me and this approach, including, by the way, a majority of Republicans.”
Watch the President’s speech here:
And even though the country’s economic situation looks grim and Republican’s obstructionism seems even bleaker, the President says he will not stop pushing to connect with Republicans because it is imperative the country moves forward:
“In the coming days and the coming weeks, I’m going to keep up — keep on reaching out to them, both individually and as — as groups of senators of members of the House, and say to them, “Let’s fix this, not just for a month or two, but for years to come.
“Because the greatest nation on earth does not conduct its business in month-to-month increments or by careening from crisis to crisis. And America’s got a lot more work to do. In the meantime, we can’t let political gridlock around a budget stand in the way of other areas where we can make progress.”
If Republicans and Democrats aren’t able to work together, the President will be forced to sign an order of sequestration by 11:59 p.m. Friday.