White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was vague Jan. 8 about just when President Barack Obama will launch talks with lawmakers about avoiding deep cuts to planned Pentagon spending.
Carney, during his daily press briefing, did indicate the White House wants to avoid the full $500 billion in cuts to projected defense and domestic spending over the next decade.
“The fact is we have two months because of the fiscal cliff agreement, and that is not a great deal of time,” Carney said. “The president will, and the White House will, engage with Congress on those matters in, I think, the relatively near term.”
Carney took a shot at lawmakers, some of whom have called for Obama to “take the lead” on talks over sequestration and raising the debt ceiling. “Congress is not here, as you know, but [Obama] looks forward to working with Congress in good faith to continue the work that’s already begun.”
Voiding the twin $500 billion cuts to planned defense and domestic spending will require a bipartisan accord on a package of at least $1.2 trillion in deficit-reducing items.
Getting there will be tricky.
Obama said in late December any such package must include other spending cuts and new revenues. Republicans are dead set against the latter.
Carney said the president will “continue to seek to compromise with Congress when it came to achieving a balanced approach for continued deficit reduction.”