Obama Says ‘First Order of Business’ in Second Term Would Be Deficit

President Obama in a second interview has highlighted deficit reduction and immigration reform as issues he’d tackle in a second term.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brezezinski and Joe Scarborough, Obama said the “first order of business” would be deficit reduction, and that his administration would also focus on immigration.

Obama said the shadow of across-the-board spending cuts, which are set to begin in January under a deal last summer to raise the debt ceiling, would likely help Congress reach a deal on deficit reduction plans. Both Democrats and Republicans are interested in coming up with an alternative plan to those cuts.

“Well, there’s no doubt that our first order of business is going to be to get our deficits and debt under control,” Obama said in the interview, released Monday. “And the good thing is that there’s a forcing mechanism. The Bush tax cuts end at the end of the year. We know that we’ve got the sequester looming. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do things; that’s taking a machete to something as opposed to a scalpel.

“And after the election, I think that both Democrats and Republicans have to step back and say, you know what, this is something the country wants to solve. If I’ve won then I believe that’s a mandate for doing it in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollar worth of cuts. We can do some more cuts. We can look at how to deal with the healthcare costs in particular on the Medicare and Medicaid in a serious way. But we are also going to need some revenue.”

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