Keep Calm and Carry On
At midnight tonight, a bevy of steep spending cuts will hit the federal government unless Congress and the White House agree to an alternative deficit-cutting proposal. Although the national media has been relentlessly focused on this deadline, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it will only affect New York City if the so-called “sequestration” continues for a significant length of time.
“It depends on how long,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly WOR radio show with John Gambling. “If it lasts a few weeks, no. If it does, yeah. We get 10 or 12 percent of our budget from the federal government, not all of that is going to be cut back, but there would be effects–not good effects. But in the context of, ‘Is anything going to change tomorrow? Are we going to run out of money tomorrow?’ I’m sure I’ll get that question at the [next] press conference. No.”
Charles in Charge
Earlier today, President Barack Obama held a press conference to decry the upcoming sequestration–steep automatic budget cuts set to occur in just ten days unless a debt deal is reached–as a “meat cleaver” that will cut essential services and harm the military. And in a subsequent MSNBC interview, veteran Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel weighed in on the topic and took his criticism even further, declaring the entire country “is embarrassed by this whole thing.”
“Before it was, ‘Protect the top 1 percent and don’t increase their tax rates.’ Now they’re saying, ‘If anything else is wrong with the tax system, don’t correct it if it means raising revenue,’” Mr. Rangel said, characterizing and dismissing the Republicans’ negotiating position. “That doesn’t make any sense!”
Earlier today, President Barack Obama gathered with the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress to move forward in avoiding automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to occur at the end of the year. Although Democrats and Republicans have, at times, seemed to have irreconcilable differences in the process, the various elected officials walked out of the Roosevelt Room with an optimistic outlook that a compromise would be reached.
“I can only echo the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting. We all understand where we are….We are prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, according to a White House pool report. “Most of my members, I think without exception, believe that we’re in the dilemma we’re in not because we taxed too little but because we spent too much.”