(CNSNews.com) – As the sequester approaches, President Obama is prodding Congress to avoid it with a short-term fix of spending cuts and more tax revenue.
"We can't just cut our way to prosperity," Obama said on Tuesday. He’s calling for a "balanced mix" of spending cuts and higher taxes, the latter to be achieved by closing "loopholes."
But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Obama can forget about higher taxes. "Will you give him more money?" Fox News's John Roberts asked Cantor on Tuesday evening:
"Absolutely not," Cantor replied, noting that Congress already has given the president $650 billion in new tax revenues. "The president wants to continue down the path of insinuating that somehow taxpayers have got to put more money in when the problem is spending. The problem is spending here. We've got to get a handle on it.
“And that's why we're asking this president. We want to work with you, but lead. Help us and join us and lead this country out of this deficit spending mess."
President Obama on Tuesday suggested that Congress pre-empt the March 1 sequester by passing a "smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms" while continuing to work a bigger budget deal.
"I know that a full budget may not be finished before March 1st," Obama said. "And unfortunately, that's the date when a series of harmful automatic cuts to job-creating investments and defense spending, also known as the sequester, are scheduled to take effect.
"So if Congress can't act immediately on a bigger package, if they can't get a bigger package done by the time the sequester is scheduled to go into effect, then I believe that they should at least pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months until Congress finds a way to replace these cuts with a smarter solution."
Obama insisted that the economy will continue heading in the right direction if Congress avoids the sequester. “So let's keep on chipping away at this problem together, as Democrats and Republicans, to give our workers and our businesses the support that they need to thrive in the weeks and months ahead."
Cantor called the president's plan "just more of the same."
"You know, we've got a real problem in this country," Cantor said. "We know we're spending much more money than we have -- to the tune of a trillion-plus dollars a year, and it's just got to stop."
Cantor said Republicans repeatedly have "asked the president to join them in replacing the sequestered cuts with cuts that make sense, with cuts that actually go towards managing down the debt long-term. And to this -- to this point, he's not taken us seriously."
"The sequester's here," Cantor continued: "And so, it's up to the president to come forward with serious proposals, not something like he did today, which is another kick the can down the road. That is not responsible, and I think the president's got to know that."