Obama Phones Lawmakers Seeking Ways to Recast Budget Cuts
President Barack Obama has begun contacting Republican and Democratic senators in search of a budget compromise even as each party blamed the other for across-the-board cuts in government spending.
The Democratic president worked the phones yesterday, calling senators “who he thinks could be part of a caucus of common sense to help move our country forward,” National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He didn’t identify the senators.
Slightly more than $85 billion in cuts, affecting agencies and programs that range from the Pentagon to the Smithsonian Institution, began March 1 amid a more than two-year-old impasse over raising taxes and cutting entitlements.
Even as lawmakers are deadlocked over what to do about the so-called sequestration, both sides signaled today they don’t want a second confrontation over legislation that will be needed to keep federal agencies running beyond March 27.