World Bulletin/News Desk
The Obama administration plans to deliver a report to Congress late next week that details spending cuts that will be required if congressional leaders fail to reach a deficit reduction deal by year end.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling to New Hampshire on Air Force One that the administration would provide details of spending cuts later than planned. Under a law signed on Aug. 7, President Barack Obama had 30 days to inform Congress of how billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts would be carried out.
"Given the time needed to address the complex issues involved in preparing the report, the administration will be submitting that report to Congress late next week," Carney said.
Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said the delay showed Obama's refusal "to level with the American people." He added that the president, fresh from attending the Democrats' national convention, had "put his own election campaign ahead of the interests of the country."
The automatic cuts, known as sequestration, total about $1.2 trillion through 2021 and were part of a deal between the White House and Congress made last year after talks on the U.S. debt crisis reached an impasse.
The cuts are intended to be so unsavory that Democrats and Republicans would both want to prevent them from occurring. They are to take effect on Jan. 2 unless Congress reaches a deficit-reduction deal.
"No amount of planning changes the fact that sequester would have devastating consequences," Carney said. "We need to deal with our fiscal challenges in a balanced way."
If the cuts are not changed or canceled by Congress, the spending reductions would take away about $55 billion from defense and $55 billion from other domestic programs in 2013.
Democrats insist that Republicans agree to tax increases for higher-income earners in exchange for changing certain defense cuts, while Republicans oppose any tax increases. There are no current deficit-reduction steps that have gained support to avoid the cuts.
His comments came after a joint statement issued in Washington said Beijing had agreed to reduce its trade deficit, "significantly" increasing purchases of American goods.
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