Budget fight continues as Washington takes a break

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President Obama is in Florida until Monday and Congress is in recess through February 24, but there's no reason a little vacation needs to get in the way of the ongoing budget war in Washington.

With the so-called "sequester" set to carve $1.2 trillion in federal spending out of the economy on March 1, both the president and congressional Republicans used their weekly address Saturday to pitch their own alternatives to the looming fiscal blow.

President Obama sounded many of the same themes heard in last Tuesday's State of the Union, emphasizing education, manufacturing, and immigration reform as the keys to growth. He lobbied for his "balanced approach" to deficit reduction that would combine "responsible reforms" on health care spending and taxes to stabilize our finances.

The president contrasted his approach with Republicans, who have proposed "even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits."

"That won't work," Mr. Obama said. "We can't just cut our way to prosperity."

The GOP fired back, with Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., blaming the sequester's automatic cuts squarely on the White House and calling on the president "to join us in replacing his sequester with better, more responsible spending cuts."

Instead of seeking compromise, Roby said, the president and congressional Democrats "see his sequester as an opportunity to push through another tax increase."

President Obama has warned that the impending cuts, half of which come from defense spending, could compromise national security, but his warning earned no plaudits from Roby. "It is a shame that our commander-in-chief is using the military he leads as leverage in an ideological crusade for higher taxes," she said. "These games have got to stop."