White House: GOP spreading ‘myths’ about Obama’s fiscal approach

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The White House accused congressional Republicans on Sunday of spreading “myths” about President Obama’s efforts to avoid looming budget cuts and blamed the GOP for pushing an “unbalanced” approach that favors the wealthy.

“The notion that President Obama hasn’t put forward a solution to deal with these looming cuts is false,” said Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer in a blog post. He said Mr. Obama’s latest offer to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, “meets the Republicans halfway on spending and on revenues, and would permanently turn off the sequester and put us on a fiscally sustainable path.”

With less than three weeks before the mandated spending cuts take effect March 1, Mr. Obama is pushing lawmakers to reach a short-term solution that would again postpone the steeper, across-the-board cuts. The president also is seeking to raise more tax revenue as part of a long-term deficit reduction plan by closing tax loopholes and eliminating deductions, but many Republicans are opposed to further tax increases after a deal in early January raised tax rates on wealthier families.

“We should have a debate over how to best reduce the deficit,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “But with only three weeks until these indiscriminate cuts hit, Congress should find a short term package to give themselves a little more time to find a solution to permanently turn off the sequester. That package should have balance and include spending cuts and revenues.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Congress has had “plenty of spending cuts” and should focus instead on eliminating tax breaks for oil companies to help lower deficits.

“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

The fiscal deadline is certain to be a major topic of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Mr. Pfeiffer, the president’s adviser, accused Republicans of seeking a “‘my way or the highway’ approach backed by congressional Republicans that asks the middle class and seniors to bear all the burden while the very wealthiest individuals, big corporations and oil and gas companies continue to enjoy big tax loopholes that are unavailable to middle class Americans and small businesses.”

“If Republicans in Congress want spending cuts, there is a simple way to get them that will not imperil our economy, our national security, or vital programs that middle class families depend on: come to the table for a balanced plan that also closes loopholes for millionaires and billionaires,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “The unbalanced Republican approach does not reflect our values as a nation, and would not help our economy continue the important progress we are making. It’s time for Congress to act.”

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