Finger-Pointing Heats Up as Sequester Deadline Nears

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Federal spending will be slashed across the board starting March 1 unless Congress and the president work out a deal to make more careful cuts to reduce the deficit.

The $85 billion worth of automatic spending cuts are known as the sequester and they focus on accounts that fund federal agencies and departments, including the military.

The situation has the president turning up the pressure on congressional Republicans.

"People will lose their jobs. The unemployment rate might tick up again," President Obama said.

"If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness," he warned. "It will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research."

The president said if these cuts go into place it will be because Republicans were not willing to work with Democrats.

But Republicans are fighting back, saying the cuts will happen and that the president should be held responsible.

"We are here because the president back in the last session of Congress refused to cut spending in any place and therefore we wound up with the sequester," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said.

The president also threatened to veto any attempt to stop the sequester.

"There will be no easy off ramps on this one," Obama said.

Critics say the president is trying to make the American people believe these cuts could be catastrophic when in reality they'd go fairly unnoticed.

"The entire sequester cut is $85 billion out of a nearly $4 trillion budget. It is nothing. It is not catastrophic it is barely noticeable. It's what they spend on post-it notes at commerce," Seton Motley, president of Less Government, told CBN News.

The president's opponents also say the sequester controversy is about one thing: more taxes.

Obama wants House Republicans to raise them, but GOP lawmakers say the president already obtained the tax increases during negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

"The Republican Party is not in any way going to trade spending cuts for a tax increase," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said.

But Motley said taxes are only a small part of the bigger picture.

"Right now his objective - whether its immigration, whether its sequester, whether its tax increases - is to make the Republican Party fight amongst themselves and have inner division in the hopes of creating enough inner turmoil in the party that they lose control of the House in 2014," Motley said.

In addition to standing firm on the spending cuts, Republican proposals include eliminating loopholes and subsidies in the tax code.

Meanwhile, Congress won't be back in session until next week - days before the spending cuts are scheduled to take effect.

Watch more of Seton Motley's comments below.

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CBN News
Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

CBN News

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