Sequestration: Budget cuts to go into effect today

9:00 AM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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By Tracie Potts, NBC News

Today's the day. At some point before midnight, President Obama is expected to sign the order that will slash 85 billion from the federal budget, and lead to furloughs and layoffs nationwide.

Congressional leaders are getting ready for a last-minute meeting at the White House.

The number one issue at this meeting - how to avoid these cuts. But it may be too late. "We're not going to walk away from the only chance of getting spending under control around here," said Rep. Paul Ryan, (R) Wisconsin.

But they did - literally. The house is gone this morning. That means virtually zero chance of any last-minute deal to avoid these cuts.

Top leaders meet with President Obama this morning. "My message at the White House will be the same that I'm telling you today, it's time for them to do their job and to pass a bill," said House Speaker John Boehner, (R) Ohio.

"There are no preconditions to a meeting like this[. ]Any topic is up for discussion," said Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary.

Not just today's cuts - but also government funding that runs out later this month. "Get it all done at once. It would be so easy to do," said Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).

The cuts aren't official yet - but we're already seeing the impact.

The USS Truman in Norfolk is on standby.

Arlington cemetery is expected to cut 160 funerals a month.

Iowa families may lose their chance to get public housing. "It will affect about 200 families that we may have to take off the roll," said Mayor Franklin Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa

Plus, furloughs and layoffs. "I have two kids at home, I've got my wife is working," said Jim Wylde, Federal Contractor.

"I have tuition. I have a daughter in college. This is her last year," said Madeline Mitchell, Fashion Industry Worker.

More than half the nation's government workers are bracing for unpaid days off, "We will survive. We'll do okay. But I think this is a hell of a way to run a railroad," said Mary Jo Dearing, HHS.

NBC News

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