Because President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress could not come to an agreement on tax reform, the sequester came into effect on March 2—that is, $85 billion in spending cuts.
In his weekly address on March 2, Obama said the cuts would have the most immediate impact on military businesses, rippling out quickly to the rest of the American economy.
“Beginning this week, businesses that work with the military will have to lay folks off,” Obama said. “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 for the defense department—will see their wages cut and their hours reduced.”
Economists predict the loss of as many as 750,000 jobs and a 0.5 percent hit to the nation’s economy.
“Many middle class families will have their lives disrupted in a significant way,” Obama said.
House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave her weekly address on March 2, calling on the president to concentrate on government spending, not taxes.
“This year alone, the federal government will take in more revenue than ever before,” McMorris said. Taxation is not the problem, according to McMorris, “Spending is the problem.”
Obama accused Republicans of being too concerned with protecting special interest tax breaks. McMorris accused Obama of not being willing to negotiate on spending cuts.
“This week, the president traveled 180 miles to New Port News, Virginia,” McMorris said, “instead of traveling one-and-a-half miles to Senator Harry Reid’s office on Capitol Hill to negotiate a replacement of smarter spending cuts.”
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