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WASHINGTON (AP) - A top Democrat says the automatic spending cuts set to take effect were meant as a threat, not a strategy.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the assistant majority leader and a close White House ally, said Sunday that the deep spending cuts were never meant to take effect and were designed to prod both parties to reach a bipartisan agreement to reduce the nation's deficit. That deal hasn't happened, but Durbin says taxes have to be part of the mix to put the country on solid financial footing.

Meanwhile, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia says Obama keeps looking to taxes as the answer and blamed the White House for proposing the automatic tax cuts in the first place.

Durbin and Cantor both appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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