UPDATE: Obama Signs Order to Begin Spending Cuts

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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 Friday, 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.



Automatic cuts will have to wait until midnight

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in Friday will be put off until as close to midnight Friday night as possible. Call them the Cinderella cuts.

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that "on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013." That's budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1. Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday -- or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats and Republicans have gone down to the wire squabbling about last-minute proposals to avert $85 billion in across-the-board cuts that have to be made by Oct. 1. Democrats sank a Republican proposal that would have forced President Barack Obama to choose which programs to cut. The GOP blocked a vote on a Democratic measure that would have spread the cuts out over a decade and replaced half of them with taxes on millionaires and corporations.




 
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