The U.S. government has to slash spending targeted for the protection of embassies around the world as part of a $100bn program of automatic spending cuts set to be start this January if Congress cannot find a compromise.
The news comes after ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans died following attacks the U.S. consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night. U.S. embassies across the Muslim world are now being targeted by protesters angered by an American film that insulted the prophet Muhammad. Raw Story
The White House and members of Congress say they want to avoid the cuts, but so far they have made little progress toward an agreement on how to replace them with other deficit-reduction measures. WSJ
The spending cuts are required as part of the agreement between the White House and Congress last year that was tied to the increase in the federal debt ceiling. They agreed that $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures over nine years would begin in January 2013 unless Congress came up with an alternative plan. The cuts were designed to be so deep they would propel lawmakers to replace them with a less onerous deficit-lowering package. WSJ
The reductions, aimed at lowering U.S. budget deficits, would result in a 9.4 percent cut in defense programs and an 8.2 percent reduction in an array of domestic government activities, the White House budget office said. Reuters
Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked over the issue of whether the deficit reduction should rely entirely on spending cuts, as Republicans favor, or whether it could include revenue from raising taxes on wealthy Americans, as the president wants. Republicans also object to any cuts to military spending. Reuters
The White House attacked Republicans in Congress for offering only “unbalanced solutions” that it said were not “realistic, fair or responsible ways” to avoid the $109 billion meat-ax approach. Reuters
This was in response to months of Republican claims that they had approved an alternative in the House of Representatives that the Democratic Senate has ignored. Reuters