President Obama has stated that any deal to replace across-the-board sequester cuts has to include tax hikes, as well as spending cuts. It is part of his oft-cited “balanced approach” to deficit reduction. At countless campaign events, speeches and press conferences, Obama has said that any deficit reduction has to be “balanced.” The White House details his plan as $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. By his own plan, the sequester can only be offset with spending cuts.
During the “fiscal cliff” negotiations in December, House Republicans offered Obama a deal including increased tax revenue, as well as spending cuts. Obama rejected the deal, largely because the new revenue came from limiting deductions and loopholes, rather than raising marginal rates. In the end, Congress agreed to $600 Billion in tax increases, in exchange for almost no spending cuts.
Obama signed the deal, even though it violated his talismanic “balanced approach.”
Getting back on track with Obama’s “balanced approach” would require around $1.8 Trillion in cuts. The sequester cuts are only $1.2 Trillion, but they’re a decent downpayment towards Obama’s goal.