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Obama: "Painful" Cuts Part Of Budget Deal

Staff Reporters |
April 9, 2011 | 9:46 a.m. PDT

President Barack Obama is reflected in a mirror in the outer Oval Office. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama is reflected in a mirror in the outer Oval Office. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama said in his weekly address Saturday that the budget deal reached late Friday night includes "painful" cuts.

But Obama stopped short of saying exactly what those cuts will be.

"Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful – programs people rely on will be cut back; needed infrastructure projects will be delayed," Obama said Saturday.  "And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances."

Obama signed a spending resolution Saturday to fund the government through next Thursday and cut $2 billion in federal spending. By then, lawmakers expect to pass legislation making about $36.5 billion in spending cuts through Sept. 30. While there is a temporary lapse in appropriations early Saturday, White House budget director Jack Lew has instructed the federal government to "continue normal operations."

The federal government avoided a shutdown on Friday with a midnight deadline moments away, saving thousands of workers across the world from temporary furloughs and keeping open institutions as commonplace as national parks.

“Leaders in both parties reached an agreement to allow our small businesses to get the loans they need, our families to get the mortgages they applied for, and hundreds of thousands of Americans to show up at work and take home their paychecks on time," President Obama said in a late-night address Friday with the Washington Monument beaming through a window behind him.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said his party had to make “tough choices” in agreeing to a “historic” budget cut, which Obama twice noted was the largest single-year spending cut ever in terms of real dollars. Reid spoke on the Senate floor with 86-year-old Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye sitting behind him and clutching his cane. Reid praised both Inouye and Boehner for their leadership, but didn't mention Obama.

“We didn't do at this late hour for drama,” Reid said. “We did it because it's been very hard to reach this point.”

But it was House Speaker John Boehner who first formally announced that a deal had been reached after a week of back-and-forth debating that even brought in the possibility of ending federal subsidies of NPR and Planned Parenthood.

“We fought to keep government spending down because it really will in fact help create a better environment for job creators in our country,” Boehner said after emerging from an applause-filled meeting of the House Republican Caucus.

Since a Congress controlled by Democrats failed to a pass a budget bill last year, the government has been running on a series of continuing resolutions that afforded government agencies as much money as they received the year before. Republicans armed with a majority in the House of Representatives since January have used their leveraged to cut a total now of 2 percent from Obama's original budget request for this year.

The exact nature of the cuts remained unclear after the three leaders spoke. Obama offered some hints.

“Programs people rely on will be cut back,” he said. “Needed infrastructure projects will be delayed.”

As part of the deal, the Senate in the coming weeks will be forced to take votes on defunding Planned Parenthood and the health care reform law. The spending resolution does block the District of Columbia from funding abortions for low-income women.

Tea Party leader Rep. Michele Bachmann said she was "disappointed" with the deal, saying on Fox News that Boehner should have fought harder for greater cuts. Bachmann was one 70 lawmakers voting against the funding bill.

The government was last shut down in 1996 during the Clinton administration.



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