Chance to avoid series of harsh, automatic spending cuts all but - WNCT

Chance to avoid series of harsh, automatic spending cuts all but gone

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WASHINGTON -

President Obama talked to media after meeting with top Congressional leaders at the White House. He says the automatic spending cuts are going through.

Lawmakers had a year and a half to come up with a budget compromise to avoid the harsh cuts. But Democrats pushed for tax hikes, Republicans wanted to trim more spending and both sides are still pointing fingers.

The cuts go into effect when the president signs the order. The law gives him until midnight to do so; then dozens of federal agencies will start scaling back.

$85 billion or about 3% of the budget needs to be slashed this year. Almost half of the cuts will be at the Pentagon. General Ray Odierno says the army alone will have to stop training 80% of its troops.

The cuts will take time to implement and the full effect may not be seen for weeks. But the Obama administration says expect fewer police on the street, teacher layoffs and flight delays.

Many of the cuts at Defense will include civilians who work for the military. The Navy alone plans to furlough 186,000 civilian employees.

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