Countdown to Spending Cuts: A Matter of Hours
With no deal in place in Congress, $85 billion in sweeping federal spending cuts will take effect Friday, targeting everything, from defense to education.
There is little hope of a last-minute deal to stave off the automatic cuts after the Senate failed to strike a deal and a large number of the members of the House left Washington on Thursday for the weekend.
The pending budget cuts are the result of impasse along primarily party lines, whose origins stem from an August 2011 deal to increase the debt ceiling.
Expectations are low that a meeting Friday morning between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders will yield a solution.
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Most observers believe both sides will use the meeting at the White house to underline their positions heading into the next round of the budget wars — a possible government shutdown on March 27, when current federal funding authority expires.