President Obama said Friday Congressional leaders had failed to reach a compromise to avoid a sweeping set of spending cuts ready to hit the U.S. government by the end of the day.
“We shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts,” Obama said following Friday’s meeting.
While officials typically say the cuts this year add up to $85 billion, the Congressional Budget Office estimates actual spending will only fall by $44 billion this year. The $85 billion figure refers to “budget authority” — or what the government can allocate this year, but actually spend over several years. Even using the $85 billion figure, the cuts amount to just more than 2 percent of the total federal budget.
The cuts will slice into the military and other programs.
Ideological clashes have both sides locking horns in the debate. Conservatives say Obama is more interested in raising taxes on the rich than in cutting spending. Obama says Republicans only want to dent the deficit by cutting middle-class programs.