Obama on Supercommittee Failure

The president blames inability to reach deal largely on Republicans in Congress.
7:26 | 11/21/11

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Transcript for Obama on Supercommittee Failure
Good afternoon. -- your -- last summer assigned -- a law that won't cut nearly one trillion dollars of spending over the next ten years. Part of that law also require congress to reduce the deficit by an additional. One point two trillion dollars by the end of this year. In September. Sent them a detailed plan that would've gone above and beyond that -- -- a plan that would reduce the deficit by an additional three trillion dollars by cutting spending. Slowing the growth in Medicare and Medicaid and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. In addition in my plan there were a number of other bipartisan plans for them to consider from both Democrats and Republicans. All of which. Promoted a balanced approach. This kind of balanced approach to reducing our deficit approach where everybody gives a little bit. And everyone -- their fair share is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans. Democrats. Independents and Republicans. That supported by experts and economists. From all across the political spectrum. And to their credit many Democrats in congress were willing to put politics aside. And commit to reasonable adjustments that would have reduced the cost of Medicare as long as they were part of -- balanced approach. But despite the broad agreement that -- for such an approach. There are still too many Republicans in congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason compromises that are coming from outside of Washington. They continue to insist on protecting -- hundred billion dollars worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. At any cost. Even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education. And medical research. Even if it means deep cuts in Medicare. So. At this point at least they simply will not budge from that negotiating position. And so far that refusal continues to be the main stumbling block that has prevented congress from reaching an agreement further reduce our deficit. Now. We are not in the same situation that we -- in -- that we were in an August. There's no imminent threat to us defaulting on the debt that we -- Authority one trillion dollars worth of spending cuts that are locked in. And part of -- law that I sign this summer stated that it if congress could not reach an agreement on the depths of there'd be another one point two trillion dollars automatic cuts in 2013. Divided equally between domestic spending and defense spending. One way or another. We will be trimming the deficit by a total of at least 2.2 trillion dollars over the next ten years. That's gonna happen. One way or another we've got one trillion dollars locked in. And either congress comes up -- one point two trillion dollars which so far they fail to do or. The sequestered Dickson and his automatic spending cuts will occur that bring in an additional one point two trillion dollars in deficit reduction. Now the question right now is whether we can. Reduce the deficit in a way that helps the economy -- That. Operates with a scalpel. Not with a -- And if not whether congress want to stick to the painful -- that we made in August for the automatic cuts. Already some in congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple. No. I will veto any effort to get rid those automatic spending cuts to -- domestic and defenseman. There will be no easy off ramps on this. We -- to keep the pressure up to compromise. Not turn off the pressure. The only way be spending cuts will not take place is if congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least. One point two trillion dollars. That's exactly what they need to do. -- job they promised to do they've still got a year to figure it out. Although congress has not come to an agreement yet. Nothing prevents them from coming up with an agreement in the days ahead. They can still come together around a balanced plan I believe Democrats are prepared to do so. My expectation is that there will be some Republicans -- were stolen for students preventing the automatic cuts from taking place. And as I have from the beginning I stand ready and willing to work with anybody. That's ready to engage in that effort to create a balance plan. For deficit reduction. In the meantime we've got a lot of work left to do this year before congress leaves next month. We have to work together to cut taxes for workers and small business owners all across America. If we don't act taxes will rule for every single American starting next year and I'm not about to let that happen. Middle class Americans can't afford to lose a thousand dollars next year because congress won't act. And I can only hope that members of congress -- been fighting so hard to protect tax breaks for the wealthy will fight justice -- to protect tax breaks for small business owners. And middle class stamps. We still need to put construction workers back on the job was building roads or bridges. We still -- what our teachers back. In the classroom educating our kids so when everybody gets back from Thanksgiving. It's time to get some work done for the American people. All around the country Americans are working hard to live within their means and meet the responsibilities. And I know they expect Washington to do this. Thanks. President Obama leaving the White House briefing room after laying the blame -- and Republicans in congress for failing to come together. On this agreement to reduce the deficit by one point two trillion dollars -- super committee. Charged with the responsibility they announced that they had failed just a few minutes ago on Capitol Hill the president coming and speaking at the White House thank you wanna go. To Jake Tapper at the white S and -- backstop for the super committee. If those failures this one point two trillion dollars an automatic cuts half from defense half from domestic spending. It would take effect at the end of next year. As the president noted already some talking capital of and doing. Those cuts especially the defense budget he said he would veto. Any effort to do that. Well remember George these automatic cuts one point two. Trillion dollars. Were specifically designed to be so onerous that nobody. Would want them to happen that. Would force the hand of the super committee to actually take a scalpel as the president put it and do thoughtful. Careful considered. Deficits deficit reduction in the president's view that would also include. A tax increases so this one point two trillion dollars was specifically to designed. To be unattractive for no one. To want to do it that's why -- cuts were so deep in defense which the Democrats insisted and so deep in social programs which the Republicans insisted so as to make it unappealing. For the other side. Can Jake Tapper thanks very much -- -- the return at a regular program of a complete wrap up later on world news you can find us any time. An abcnews.com. I'm George Stephanopoulos in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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