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President Barack Obama urges Congress to delay or replace 'massive' spending cuts

Less than a month before automatic spending cuts are set to trigger, which could mean furloughs for civilian workers, the president says Congress should replace them to avoid major disruptions to economy. Members of Oklahoma's delegation criticized the president.
by Chris Casteel Published: February 5, 2013
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Inhofe, R-Tulsa, issued a joint statement Tuesday with Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, criticizing the president for proposing higher taxes rather than reforms to entitlement spending.

“We urge the President to lead, rather than loop endlessly around a beaten path,” the lawmakers said. “It is in his power to forge a deal that (reins) in our debt without levying more taxes on struggling Americans, and without hollowing out an at-war military.”

Reps. Tom Cole, R-Moore, and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said last week that the GOP-led House would rather see the cuts go into effect than raise taxes to avert them.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said the president shouldn't view tax reform as a way to pay down the deficit. Instead, Coburn said, closing tax loopholes should be accompanied by lower tax rates for working Americans.

“Ironically, the very tax earmarks the administration slipped into the fiscal cliff deal for special interests such as Hollywood movie producers, the wind industry and NASCAR, kept rates artificially high for lower-income and middle class families,” Coburn said.

But Obama said Tuesday, “If we're serious about paying down the deficit, the savings we achieve from tax reform should be used to pay down the deficit, and potentially to make our businesses more competitive.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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