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Obama signs order to begin spending cuts

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    President Barack Obama spoke to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington today following after meeting with congressional leaders regarding the automatic spending cuts.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Senate Democratic leaders finished a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday after answering questions about the impending automatic spending cuts that take effect today. From right to left are, Senate Majority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin of Ill., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio entered the White House in Washington today for a meeting with President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to discuss the automatic federal spending cuts.
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WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama has signed an order authorizing the government to begin cutting $85 billion from federal accounts, officially enacting across-the-board reductions that he opposed but failed to avert.

Obama acted today, the deadline for the president and Congress to avoid the steep, one-year cuts.

Obama has insisted on replacing the cuts, known as a “sequester” in government budget language, with tax increases and cuts spread out over time. Republicans have rejected any plan that included tax revenue.

The government says the reductions will soon result in furlough notices to government employees and will trim government spending on defense contracts and in domestic government programs. Active military personnel and anti-poverty and low-income assistance programs are largely protected from the cuts.

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