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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:50 AM

Congressional Leaders to Meet With Obama as Cuts Take Effect

By Kathleen Hunter - Feb 27, 2013
President Barack Obama summoned top congressional leaders to a March 1 meeting at the White House that coincides with the start of $85 billion in automatic spending cuts leaders of both parties say they want to avoid.

Republicans John Boehner, the House speaker, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, and Democrats Harry Reid, the Senate majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, will attend the meeting, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said.

The two parties are still far apart on how to replace the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, which total $1.2 trillion over nine years and will begin March 1. The first tranche of $85 billion will occur over the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. Democrats insist revenue needs to be part of any replacement plan, an approach that Republican leaders oppose.

The upcoming White House session follows a meeting there yesterday between Obama and with Senator John McCain and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. McCain and Graham, two Republicans who have said they could be open to a long-term sequester-replacement plan that includes revenue paired with entitlement cuts, said sequester-replacement was a topic at the meeting. Neither would offer details.



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