Mar 01, 2013
By Michael Kramer
U-S President Obama’s meeting with congressional leaders didn’t produce a solution to the automatic spending cuts due to start taking effect by the end of the day.
But the group did agree not to create a crisis out of a March 27th deadline when the federal authority to spend on government operations expires.
The House speaker’s office says they agreed that legislation should be enacted this month to keep the government operating.
Meanwhile – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he is concerned about the impact the latest budget battle in the United States will have on Canadian exports.
The finance minister says he believes the so-called “sequestration crisis” involving about $85 billion in spending cuts will be a tempest in a teapot in terms of U.S. economic growth.
But he says the potential for border tie-ups as the U.S. lays off border guards could slow trade routes between the two countries, and have on impact on Canada’s economy.
U.S. homeland security chief Janet Napolitano has estimated the cuts could affect the equivalent of about 5,000 border patrol agent positions, many on the Canada-U.S. border.
Flaherty says as regrettable as the current impasse is, a bigger problem is that U.S. politicians have been unable to come up with a viable long-term plan to handle budget issues, something he believes drains confidence.