Obama tells Defense communities sequestration should be avoided

Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Obama continued his call for a bipartisan solution to avoid sequestration that couples spending cuts with tax hikes on the nation’s wealthiest in a series of interviews on Monday with local Virginia media outlets.

Obama told The Virginia-Pilot, a newspaper based in the Navy-hub town of Norfolk, Va., that both parties need to work together to avoid the automatic cuts included in the 2011 Budget Control Act. The Defense Department would take the greatest hit from the across-the-board cuts.

"Democrats have to understand we're going to need some additional spending cuts, and Republicans have to understand we're going to need some additional revenues," Obama told the newspaper.

Obama maintained his confidence that a deal will be agreed upon prior to the Jan. 2 deadline and deflected the blame for the threat of the cuts.

"My sense is it will get done," he told Virginia television station WVEC, servicing the same southeastern region of the state. "Two out of three Republicans voted for this law setting up sequestration."

Obama added he does not believe any agreement will be reached prior to the election in November.

The president said his administration is “preparing for contingencies” and is required to present to Congress exactly how the cuts would be implemented by Sept. 6, thanks to the recently signed Sequestration Transparency Act.

He said the Defense cuts could “endanger” certain elements of military capacity and emphasized lawmakers face two clear options in dealing with sequestration.

"If the choice is between sequester going through or tax cuts continuing for millionaires and billionaires, I think it's pretty clear what the American people would choose. And Congress needs to follow the lead of the American people in doing the right thing," Obama told The Virginia-Pilot.

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