Obama stresses need to reach sequester deal in weekly address

In his weekly address, President Barack Obama once again warned Congress about the need to act before automatic spending cuts go into effect in March. The March 1 sequester, as the cuts are known, will result in a series of predetermined cuts across the board, most notably targeting the defense budget and entitlement programs.

The President gave specifics on the impact that some of these cuts, if allowed to go through, would have on government workers and programs.

“Thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off.  Firefighters and food inspectors could also find themselves out of work – leaving our communities vulnerable,” he said, reciting the importance of action. ” All our economic progress could be put at risk.”

He also took the opportunity to challenge Congressional Republicans to come up with a better plan to avoid the cuts, arguing that their current plan will place the economic burden on middle-class families.

One of the more notable hang-ups in negotiations has been reforming the tax code, which Democrats argue favors the wealthy due to tax loopholes and its obfuscatory nature. Reiterating the need for lawmakers to come together to reach a deal to close these loopholes and reorganize government agencies, the President stressed that cooperation will be key to avoiding the sequester.

“My message to Congress is this: let’s keep working together to solve this problem.  And let’s give our workers and our businesses the support they need to grow and thrive,” he said to close the address.