President Obama won't join in the U.S. debt reduction process other than press for changes he has already proposed, his spokesman said Friday.
A congressional supercommittee must identify $1.5 trillion in cuts by Nov. 23 or automatic cuts across the government begin by law.
Obama, Democrats and Republicans agreed on a debt deal enacted by Congress in August that would cut $917 billion in spending over 10 years. The deal also created a congressional supercommittee charged with closing the deficit an additional $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion. If the panel deadlocks or Congress doesn't accept its plan, a prearranged set of spending cuts kick in, including steep cuts to defense and entitlement programs to prod the committee and Congress to act.
"We remain hopeful that Congress will address this issue in a way that's balanced, that includes hard choices for everybody," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Friday. "But if it's done in a balanced way, [it] does not unduly or unfairly shift the burden onto one sector of society while holding harmless ... the most fortunate Americans who have seen their incomes rise dramatically in a period where middle-class Americans have seen their incomes stagnate or decline."
As for Obama joining in the process, Carney said: "This is a congressional mandated action obligating a committee set up by Congress to deliver a product. We don't have any membership on that committee."