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Obama unveils plans to avert budget cuts

Published on Feb 6, 2013 5:56 AM
At a table surrounded by reporters, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf holds a news conference for the release of its annual Budget and Economic Outlook report at the Ford House Office Building Feb 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. The CBO estimates the 2013 budget deficit to be at $845 billion. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama Tuesday called for stop-gap spending curbs and tax reforms to avert multi-billion dollar budget cuts due to hammer the economy on March 1, but hit a Republican brick wall.

Mr Obama warned the fragile economy could not afford the blow from huge cuts to defence and other government programmes, known as the sequester, and the jobs of millions of Americans should not be threatened by wrangling in Washington.

The president said if Congress could not act on a bigger deficit cutting package by March 1, lawmakers should pass a smaller plan of spending cuts and tax reforms to forestall the economically damaging impact of the sequester.

"There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy," Mr Obama told reporters. "Let me repeat, our economy right now is headed in the right direction. It will stay that way as long as there aren't any more self-inflicted wounds coming out of Washington."

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