WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Barack Obama called on Republicans and Democrats in Congress to compromise with "a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans" to avoid sequestration and other budget cuts during his weekly address this morning.
"If Congress doesn’t act by March 1, 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," President Obama said.
The White House estimated that if sequestration were to take place:
12,000 scientists and students could be impacted from lack of federal research funding;
373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and emotionally disturbed children could go untreated;
70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start;
10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk;
7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut from federal funding; and
7,400 fewer AIDS patients having access to life HIV medications.
Republicans however, place the blame on the President for the lack of a budget deal. "But the question remains: what is President Obama willing to DO to prevent it?" said Speaker of the House John Boener (R-OH) on his website. "Republicans agree the sequester is the wrong way to cut spending, and agree the consequences are harmful. That’s why Republicans have twice passed legislation to replace it with common sense cuts and reforms. But without a plan to prevent his sequester, the president is out of excuses."