Obama asks Congress to delay automatic spending cuts

Updated On: Feb 06, 2013

US President Barack Obama has asked Congress to delay the automatic spending cuts set to begin in March, urging lawmakers to pass spending changes and tax reforms to put off the automatic cuts. Earlier this week, Mr. Obama also missed a deadline to submit his proposed US budget to Congress, but the White House has argued that the substance of the budget matters more than when it arrives.

Report: US deficits to shrink through 2015, but debt to deepen-CBO [Reuters, 5 Feb 2013]

Report: Obama Offers Deficit Savings to Head Off Automatic Cuts [New York Times, 5 Feb 2013]

The Obama Administration has tended to submit its budgets after the early February deadline - it has only met the deadline once, in 2010. The White House has attributed this year's delay to the last-minute negotiations to avert the "fiscal cliff".

With the fiscal cliff resolved, the current issue facing the US is automatic across-the-board spending cuts that will take effect in March unless lawmakers can agree on a permanent solution.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has released its annual report and its projection on the US budget deficit. According to the office, the US budget deficit will drop to below $1 trillion this year, for the first time during Mr. Obama's presidency. The office warned that while annual deficits will decline as the US economy recovers, the deficit is expected to rise later in the decade, from 2016, as the population ages and health care prices rise.

Mr. Obama has given no details on what spending cuts and tax adjustments he would like Congress to pass - but he is expected to touch on the issue when he delivers his State of the Union address next Tuesday.