Saturday Mar 02, 201312:21 AM GMT
Cuts will hurt middle class families: Obama
US President Barack Obama says huge automatic sequester spending cuts will worsen the economic situation of middle class families in the country, Press TV repots.

Obama made the remarks at a press conference held after a meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House on Friday.

“The pain… will be real. Beginning this week, many middle class families will have their lives interrupted in significant ways,” the US president said.

"It's just dumb. And it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt individual people, and it's going to hurt the economy over all."

On Friday morning, Obama and Congressional leaders met at the White House in order to settle their differences over the budget before the sequester cuts damage the economy.

Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Earlier in the day, the US Senate struck down two competing bills designed to head off automatic sequester spending cuts.

The failure of the twin bills to get the minimum 60 votes would cut $85 billion in across-the-board spending from the federal budget for 2013.

The Republican bill received only 38 votes out of the 60 needed to be considered for final passage, losing 9 Republican senators. The measure failed, 62 to 38, with two Democrats voting yes. The Democratic bill barely garnered a majority, 51 votes, but needed 60 under the rules adopted beforehand.

The sequester cuts would affect the salaries for 10,000 teachers and 7,200 specialists for children with disabilities.

Moreover, 14,000 teaching positions would be lost, after the exclusion of about 70,000 children under the age of five from the Head Start preschool program for low-income children. Up to 12,000 scientists and students will also be affected.

About 800,000 civilian employees at the Defense Department would see a 20 percent cut in salaries.

The sequester was put together in a 2011 law to force the government to drastically cut costs over the next 10 years if lawmakers are unable to decide on a more moderate deficit reduction package.

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