While President Barack Obama continued to urge Congressional Republicans to compromise to avoid the looming sequester at an event in Virginia, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, used some colorful language to suggest that it is up to Senate Democrats to act to avoid the automatic spending cuts.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday following a meeting with his Republican colleagues, Boehner once again noted that the GOP-controlled House passed two measures to replace the sequester last year.
The bills were never dealt with by the Democratic-controlled Senate, however, and the legislation expired with the end of the previous session of Congress.
"We have moved a bill in the House twice, we should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something," Boehner said.
Unless Congress acts, approximately $85 billion in automatic cuts to both defense and domestic spending are due to go into effect on March 1st.
The automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, were implemented as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 in order to push lawmakers to compromise on a broader budget agreement.
Boehner argued that President Obama has had sixteen months to address the sequester, claiming that the president has spent that time traveling the country holding rallies instead of sitting down with Senate leaders in order to try to forge an agreement.
"I don't think the president's focused on trying to find a solution to the sequester," Boehner said. "The president has been traveling all over the country and today going down to Newport News in order to use our military men and women as a prop in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes."
He added, "Now the American people know if the president gets more money they're just going to spend it. The fact is that he's gotten his tax hikes. It's time to focus on the real problem here in Washington and that is spending."
While Obama has called for a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and tax reforms, Republicans have thus far steadfastly refused to consider higher taxes.
The GOP has argued that the issue of increased revenues was addressed by the fiscal cliff agreement, which raised tax rates on families making more than $450,000 a year.
by RTT Staff Writer
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