Speaker of the House John Boehner tells Scott Pelley in a "CBS Evening News" interview that a budget deal is now out of his hands.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will meet with top congressional leaders on Friday to discuss the deep, automatic government spending cuts slated to go into effect that day, congressional aides said
Known as the sequester or sequestration, the cuts amount indiscriminate across-the-board reductions in federal spending totalling $85 billion.
Obama is set to meet with Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.
"The meeting Friday is an opportunity for us to visit with the president about how we can all keep our commitment to reduce Washington spending," McConnell said in a statement.
"We can either secure those reductions more intelligently, or we can do it the president's way with across-the board cuts. But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to," he said.
Republicans on Capitol Hill immediately questioned Obama's intent.
"If the president is serious about stopping the sequester, why did he schedule a meeting on Tuesday for Friday when the sequester hits at midnight on Thursday?” asked a Republican congressional aide who was not authorized to talk about the private meeting. "Either someone needs to buy the White House a calendar, or this is just a belated farce. They ought to at least pretend to try."
Reuters and Lisa Mascaro, the Los Angeles Times
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