Obama to use State of the Union to make case against spending cuts
President Obama will use his State of the Union speech Tuesday to turn public opinion against automatic spending cuts and argue that some of the money to replace the cuts should instead come from higher taxes.
He will use the prime-time TV address to argue the economy would be damaged if $85 billion in automatic spending cuts were to go ahead on schedule on March 1, and will seek to set up Republicans to take the blame if they do.
Obama will spend a significant portion of his address talking about jobs and the economy, according to White House aides, who say the president will strike a similar tone as he has in recent days in calling for a “balanced” package of spending cuts and tax hikes to replace the sequester.
Senate Democrats aim to introduce a sequester replacement bill by Thursday that will include tax hikes and spending cuts. Republicans in Congress say they are willing to replace the sequester, but only with new spending cuts.
The State of the Union address is also expected to highlight Obama’s second-term shift on the deficit.
From 2010 to 2012, the president consistently argued for new spending to spur on the economy, but also called for accompanying spending cuts and tax hikes to rein in the deficit.
But in his radio address on Saturday, Obama emphasized that the White House and Congress already have “cut our deficit by more than $2.5 trillion” through spending cuts and higher tax rates imposed on households with annual incomes above $450,000.
“That’s more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists and elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt,” Obama said Saturday.
The comments signaled the president’s intention to take a hard line against Republican calls to trim entitlements.