Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, hosted a news conference Friday to discuss the impact of sequestration cuts, as President Barack Obama huddled Friday with congressional leaders at the White House.
While Obama looked to rally support ahead of the inevitable cuts, McKeon decried the impact of hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to our armed forces, as the House Armed Services chairman, who’s responsible for setting the defense’s budget.
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“Sen. Reid and the democratic leadership, for three years, haven’t passed a budget, and we’ve been giving them a pass,” McKeon said. “Sequestration was the president’s idea, and when we tried to fix it, he said, ‘No.’
“We are done cutting our defense,” he said. “We are telling the president and (House Speaker) John Boehner don’t plan on cutting our national defense one cent.”
The session lasted less than an hour.
In a brief statement to reporters after the meeting, Boehner reiterated that Republicans will continue to oppose Democratic proposals to raise new revenues to offset the cuts.
“The discussion about revenue, in my opinion, is over,” he said. “It’s about taking on the spending problem here in Washington.”
The House Speaker added that Congress will move next week on a measure to maintain government funding after March 27th.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But even since the meeting was first announced on Wednesday, hopes were bleak for an eleventh hour solution to the across-the-board cuts.
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In a written statement released Friday morning before the meeting, McConnell all but promised that no last-minute solution would be hammered out.
“I’m happy to discuss other ideas to keep our commitment to reducing Washington spending at today’s meeting,” he said. “But there will be no last-minute, back-room deal and absolutely no agreement to increase taxes.”
Budget sequestration, which formally begins when the president orders it into effect sometime before 8:59 p.m. tonight, will result in $85 billion in spending cuts this fiscal year.
MSNBC contributed to this report.