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Republicans warned to co-operate on budget

08 April 2013, 11:38

Washington — The White House on Sunday warned Republicans that an inflexible approach would mean defeat for them in upcoming budget negotiations but told its Democratic allies they, too, will have to bend on President Barack Obama's spending plan that's set to be released this week.

Obama is set to formally release his budget outline on Wednesday. Its delay from February, then to March and now to April has left lawmakers in the Republican-led House of Representatives and Democratic-controlled Senate to write their own budget proposals and move ahead without a concrete plan from Obama's economic team.

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the White House was willing to work with Republicans to come up with an outline that both jump-starts the economy and reduces the nation's debt. Yet Pfeiffer also told Republican lawmakers that stubbornness among their party's leadership would only yield public embarrassment.

But he also warned Democrats who are wary of some of the president's cuts that they will have to sacrifice.

"Look, this is compromise," Pfeiffer said. "And compromise means there are going to be some folks on both sides who are not happy."

Even on the eve of its release, the president's budget was seen more as a starting point for negotiations than a final proposal.

Dinner date

"We're beginning to set the stage for the grand bargain," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC, noting the Obama proposal as a whole "isn't going to make it".

Such a large-scale fiscal deal that goes beyond the budget to address the country's booming debt has proven elusive for Obama. The White House has tried to negotiate with Republicans a grand compromise that brings down spending while protecting social safety nets. Each time, talks have fallen apart amid revolt among the strongest partisans in both top political parties.

Yet Obama is again working to find a deal, his top advisers said.

On Wednesday night, the president is scheduled to meet with Republican senators for dinner.

"What we're looking for is what the president calls a caucus of common sense, folks who are willing to compromise and who understand that in divided government, both sides aren't going to get everything they want," Pfeiffer told Fox.

- AP


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