In a weekly address published Saturday, President Barack Obama urged Congress to avert looming across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester and slammed his Republican opponents.


"Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners?" he said. "Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?"

"These are the questions Republicans in Congress need to ask themselves. And I’m hopeful they’ll change their minds. Because the American people have worked too hard for too long to see everything they’ve built undone by partisan recklessness in Washington."

Obama said the sequester, which was part of the deal to raise the federal debt ceiling in 2011, would hurt the economy and eliminate jobs. The sequester would cut defense spending by $55 billion and non-defense discretionary spending by $27 billion.

The President has called for a combination of new revenues and spending cuts, but Republicans are opposed to any new tax increases.

Last year, House Republicans passed legislation to replace the sequester's cuts to defense spending with cuts to social programs like food stamps.

Obama claimed that his own proposal (PDF) would cut the federal deficit in a "balanced way."

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by The White House, below: