Sequester Talks Yield ... Zilch
Obama warns of 'dumb, arbitrary' cuts as GOP rejects tax increases
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2013 11:42 AM CST
President Obama speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room Friday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – No sequester kumbaya. President Obama and congressional leaders met for an hour this morning and made zero progress on striking a deal to avoid the automatic budget cuts, reports Politico. Their respective statements afterward tell the story:

  • Obama: "Let's be clear: None of this is necessary," he said, reports AP. "It's happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. We shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things." He warned that while not everyone will feel the cuts initially, "the pain ... will be real."

  • John Boehner: He made clear that Republicans will not budge on tax increases as part of the president's "balanced" approach, reports the Washington Post. "The president got his tax hikes on January 1st. The discussion about revenue in my view is over. It's about taking on the spending problem here in Washington." He added that the House would put forth a continuing resolution next week to fund the government beyond March 27 to avoid a shutdown.
The lack of progress means that at some point today, Obama will notify government agencies that sequestration is in effect, and the resulting cuts will begin to take shape in the coming days and weeks, reports the New York Times. Click for more on what to expect.