No agreement in White House meeting on spending cuts

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By Jessica Yellin and Tom Cohen


WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama blamed Congress for failing to prevent forced spending cuts that take effect Friday, saying the reductions will harm economic recovery.

The president had met with with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday morning, but no agreement emerged to avert forced spending cuts that both sides oppose.

He said the “dumb, arbitrary cuts” are “unnecessary and inexcusable.”

“I genuinely believe there’s an opportunity for us to cooperate,” President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House, adding that “what doesn’t make sense is to replace this set of arbitrary cuts with an even worse set of arbitrary cuts.”

After the meeting, which lasted about 45 minutes, Speaker John Boehner told reporters in a brief statement that the House will take up a measure next week to authorize federal funding beyond a March 27 deadline to prevent a potential partial government shutdown.

The funding measure is unconnected to the forced spending cuts, known in Washington jargon as sequestration, and Boehner reiterated his opposition to Obama’s call for more tax revenue to be part of any solution.

“I am hopeful we wont have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we are dealing with the sequester at the same time.” Boehner said, without taking questions.

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