"In order to achieve the full $4 trillion in deficit reductions that is the stated goal of economists and our elected leaders, these modest reforms in our social insurance programs have to go hand in hand with a process of tax reform so that the wealthiest individuals and corporations can't take advantage of loopholes and deductions that are not available to most Americans," Obama said.
Meanwhile, a group of top conservative House and Senate Armed Services Committee members scheduled a press conference Wednesday to discuss their proposal to avoid the defense portion of the sequester from taking effect.
John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, a collection of CEOs at dozens of top U.S. companies, agreed with the premise of tax reform but was wary of Obama's approach, though he agreed that the sequester would be bad for the overall economy.
"Any significant tax changes should be made only within the context of comprehensive tax reform that will put the nation on a path to more robust growth," Engler said in a press release. "As for spending, Business Roundtable favors a more thoughtful allocation of spending cuts rather than sequestration's across-the-board, automatic spending reductions. This is achieved by the House and Senate passing budgets and working out the details in conference."
The politicking will only ratchet up as March 1 approaches, with powerful lobbying industries on both sides of the aisle pressing lawmakers to act to avoid the $1.2 trillion in cuts.