White House Blames Republicans for Recent Economic Contraction

Carney says Republicans’ insistence on balancing budget is destroying economy

White House Blames Republican "Brinkmanship" for GDP Contraction (Reuters)

The White House on Wednesday blamed the surprising contraction of the economy at the end of last year at least partly on Republican "political brinkmanship" for threatening to let defense cuts take effect.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said similar threats over a looming March 1 deadline when defense and other cuts take effect absent a broader budget deal could similarly hurt the U.S. economy and taxpayers.

"This is political brinkmanship with one primary victim, and that is American taxpayers and the American middle class," Carney said at a briefing.

"Our economy is facing a major headwind ... and that's Republicans in Congress."

Carney referred to comments by former vice presidential candidate and House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who said Sunday he believes the automatic spending cuts will go into effect because Democrats have not offered alternatives, and remarks made by House Speaker John Boehner.

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