The sequester went into effect on Friday as President Obama signed an order that kicked off $85 billion in federal spending reductions after he and Congress failed to come to a deal to avert the cuts.
Both Congress and Obama refused to budge from their positions on Friday, setting off the $85 billion in cuts that are expect to fall squarely on working Americans.
“Let’s be clear: None of this is necessary,” Obama told reporters at the White House, via Fox News. “It’s happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. We shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things.”
The two sides met for less than an hour at the White House, with Obama spending most of the remainder of the day fixing blame to Republicans for the sequster, MSN noted. Obama has sought a solution that involves raising tax revenue, insisting that some of the cuts could be replaced by closing tax loopholes.
“They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner said that Republicans can agree to closing some tax loopholes, but not to replace spending cuts.
Though most of the effects of the sequester will be phased in over the course of months, its impact is already being felt in some areas, MSN noted:
“In Seattle, the King County Housing Authority announced it had stopped issuing housing vouchers under a federal program that benefits ‘elderly or disabled households, veterans, and families with children.’ “
The long-term effects of the sequester will include flight delays, limited hours at national parks, longer wait times at border crossings, and furloughs of some government workers, the White House said.