President Obama is stepping up the pressure on Congress to avert a series of steep spending cuts, warning in his weekly radio/tv address that the result of failing to do so, "could be a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole."
Obama argues that the cuts -- known in Beltway parlance as the sequester -- would result in layoffs for "thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy." Firefighters and food inspectors could also be furloughed, he says, "leaving our communities vulnerable." He said the threat of cuts "has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf."
Obama earlier this week pressed Congress to pass a package of modest cuts and tax changes as a way to the cuts, scheduled to take effect March 1. But Republicans say additional revenue should not be part of the solution, even it's to close tax loopholes or raise fees.
Obama in the address argues that Republicans should compromise as they did on the fiscal cliff and "pass a similar set of balanced cuts and close more tax loopholes until they can find a way to replace the sequester with a smarter, longer-term solution."