RENO, Nevada - US President Barack Obama said on Monday that there was no reason billions in across-the-board federal budget cuts should occur at the end of this year, saying lawmakers in Congress ought to agree on a balanced plan to avoid the widely feared pinch.
In a speech to veterans, Obama said it was still possible to avert the pending cuts to defense and other areas that stem from a failure to reach a deal last year to reduce the federal deficit.
"There's no reason that should happen because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong. It should be done," he said.
A year-end deadline looms for Congress over the "fiscal cliff" of major tax hikes and spending cuts, and Republicans and Democrats need to reach a consensus in the lame duck session - the period between the November election and the start of the new Congress in January.