WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet top congressional leaders for talks on government spending cuts this Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday.
Obama has invited four leading lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner to meet at the White House, and hopes to have a "constructive discussion" with them, Carney told reporters here at a daily briefing.
The meeting is to take place not before but on the day that across-the-board automatic government spending cuts, the so-called "sequester" or "sequestration" in U.S. government budget language, are set to kick in, signaling that efforts of Democrats and Republicans to avert the sequester may have stalled.
Roughly 85 billion U.S. dollars of spending cuts are set to hit various government departments this year starting March 1, as agreed by Democrats and Republicans in January in their efforts to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff."
"Compromise here in Washington can usually be measured by a willingness of one leader to put forward proposals that demonstrate tough choices by his side, or her side. What we have not seen from the Republicans is anything like the willingness to compromise inherent in the proposals that the President has put forward," Carney stated.
Republicans should support a balanced deficit reduction plan, including higher taxes on the rich and closing some special interest tax loopholes, to replace the looming sequester, Carney added.
GOP leaders oppose any sequester replacement plan that includes higher taxes on the rich. The White House has escalated attacks on GOP leaders to set up Republicans for blame if the government outlays cuts are to take effect.