WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to quickly pass a new package of limited spending cuts and tax increases to head off substantial across-the-board reductions to domestic and military spending set to begin on March 1, but his appeal for more revenue was dismissed by Republicans.
Trying to gain the upper hand in the latest fiscal clash, Mr. Obama said Congress should delay the reductions for at least a few months to give lawmakers a chance to negotiate a full deficit reduction package that permanently resolves the threat of a so-called sequester.
“They should at least pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday afternoon in the White House briefing room. He said there was no reason to put at risk “the jobs of thousands of Americans.”
The president said the economy, which unexpectedly contracted at the end of last year, had begun to recover slowly. But he warned that continuing fights over taxes and spending threaten to delay or derail that improvement.