WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama addressed the media after budget talks with congressional leaders at the White House Friday, saying that Americans can get through the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that are set to start kicking in.
Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as a series of automatic budget cuts are scheduled to go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday.
There were no indications of a breakthrough in their stalemate, and the meeting yielded no immediate results.
The meeting with lawmakers lasted one hour, after which Obama said the nation should not be making “dumb and arbitrary” cuts and that Republicans have allowed these cuts to happen.
President Obama said he still believes the cuts can be replaced, but he wants a deal that includes more taxes. As long as the cuts stay in effect, he said, Americans will know that the economy could have been better had they been averted.
Obama blamed Republicans' refusal to close 'wasteful' loopholes for the cuts and said it may take a couple of weeks or couple of months to find a solution to budget impasse.
The automatic budget cuts are "not a win for anybody," the president said. "This is a loss for the American people."
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner says higher taxes won't be part of any deal to solve the country's budget mess.
Boehner emerged from the meeting with Obama and said there was nothing new to report on staving off spending cuts.
Boehner says the House will move ahead next week with legislation to keep the government running beyond March, and he hopes the country won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown.