At a shipyard in Virginia, President Barack Obama pointed the finger at the GOP for the impasse over the automatic spending cuts set to hit on Friday — even as he insisted he’s not interested in playing a “blame game.”
Obama said he’s not out for political advantage. He said he told the nation’s governors on Monday that he’s run his last campaign. “I’m not interested in spin, I’m not interested in playing a blame game. At this point, all I’m interested in is solving problems,” he said.
But Obama earlier said the GOP is at fault for refusing to compromise on the sequester.
“There are too many Republicans in Congress ... who refuse to compromise an inch when it comes to closing tax loopholes,” Obama said.
Obama noted that Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had proposed raising revenue from shrinking tax breaks just a few months ago and said some other Republicans have been willing to consider that approach, including Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., who flew with Obama on Air Force One, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is set to meet this afternoon with the president along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to discuss immigration and other subjects.
Obama said he’s prepared to negotiate with Republicans and compromise, and pointed to his December offer with a mix of new spending cuts and revenue.
He also poured cold water on the idea of flexibility in implementing the sequester, saying there was no smart way to impose the cuts slated to hit the Defense Department in the next seven months.
“Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?” he asked.
Republican aides took to Twitter with snarky comments in response to the president’s remarks.
“I wonder if the president would be so opposed to the blame game if the sequester wasn’t his idea,” tweeted Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck, who also noted that Boehner has reserved HR 1 for a tax code overhaul that would eliminate loopholes to pay for lower tax rates.
Other Republicans blasted Obama for saying he is willing to negotiate at a photo op in Virginia instead of meeting with Republican leaders in Washington. And they’ve pointed the finger at the Senate, which will finally bring a sequester replacement bill to the floor this week.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.