In a debate focused on foreign policy issues, both President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney attempted to circle back to discuss domestic policy. One of the key issues discussed by both candidates was the defense budget.
During the debate, Romney mentioned the impending defense budget cuts, part of the sequester put in place as part of the debt ceiling compromise last year. The defense budget cut, among others, is part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” that has many politicians on edge.
Romney charged Obama’s administration with coming up with the automatic defense budget cuts. Obama responded by saying the sequester was Congress’ idea, not his. He then added, “It will not happen.”
This had some pundits wondering if Obama had a plan up his sleeve for handling the deadlock over the fiscal cliff that has hung over this election cycle and threatens to hurt the economy at the start of the year if not dealt with.
Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said that Obama’s comments were merely him reiterating his belief that the sequestration cuts were never meant to be implemented in the first place, and that he was confident Congress would work out a solution before the U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff.
Of course, what Obama has said and continues to say and what the political realities are right now are two different things. Republicans have said the Democrats and Obama do not have a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, while Democrats say that it would be unwise to release a plan in what one senator called a “toxic” pre-election environment.
Again, it comes down to a lot of talk from both sides and little indication of any willingness to work towards a solution, at least until the election is resolved in two weeks.
— Benjamin Nanamaker,InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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