Obama signs ‘sequester’ spending cuts into effect
President Barack Obama signed the spending cuts he lambasted as “dumb” on Friday night, forcing the enactment of the so-called “sequester” as of midnight.
According to NBC News, the White House confirmed the authorization of the $85 billion in cuts in quiet fashion, not even sending a photo of Obama signing them into effect after weeks of sniping between his administration and the Republican Party.
The tete-a-tete continued almost literally until the last minute, with the president saying at a press conference Friday morning that the country would have to prepare for rougher financial times in the months to come.
“It’s just dumb,” he said following a meeting with Republican and Democratic party leaders. “And it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt individual people and it’s going to hurt the economy overall.”
The White House budget office is now tasked with telling Congress where the cuts will be made. CNN reported on Friday that a report sent by the office said the impending measures would be “deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions.”
The “sequester” stems from a 2011 congressional agreement to raise the federal borrowing limit as a last-ditch option should lawmakers be unable to come to terms on another budget-reduction plan. The cuts will slash 13 percent from the Pentagon’s budget and around 9 percent from non-defense program through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
But the pinch could be felt as soon as April, and Congress also faces a March 27 deadline to authorize enough funds to keep the government operating for the rest of the fiscal year.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]