House Speaker John Boehner said today that the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester could still be averted.
"Hope springs eternal,” he said at an afternoon press conference.
He and other members of House leadership said that there was still time for President Barack Obama to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Senate Democrats to work out a deal. The sequester is scheduled to begin on Friday.
Boehner repeated a charge by House Republicans that they had already passed two bills to deal with the sequester on which the Senate had not voted.
"We shouldn't have to act a third time before the Senate begins their work,” he said.
The House leaders criticized the president for holding campaign-style events instead of working on solutions in Washington.
Obama is scheduled to travel to Virginia on Tuesday, the latest in a series of events staged by the White House to try to pin the blame for the looming cuts on congressional Republicans.
“This is not time for a road-show President, but this is a time to look for someone who will lead and work with us because we are willing to work with them to solve America’s problems,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that the president is falsely portraying the sequester as a choice between letting criminals loose on the street and allowing homeland security to suffer if he doesn’t get his tax increases.
“This is a false choice, Cantor said. “The president has been engaging in this rhetoric of a false choice for weeks now.”
Earlier on Monday, Obama said in remarks before the National Governor’s Association that “These cuts do not have to happen. Congress can turn them off at any time with just a little bit of compromise.”
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