WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is concerned about the effect that looming, drastic across-the-board budget cuts will have on the middle class, his new chief of staff said Sunday. Congressional Republicans predicted the cuts would start as scheduled next month and blamed Obama not only for doing little to stop them but for the idea itself.The cuts, called the sequester, would drain $85 billion from the government's budget over the coming seven months. Actual cuts may be around 13% for defense and 9% for other programs because lawmakers delayed their impact, requiring savings over a shorter period of time. The White House last week let loose a list of ways Americans would feel the trims, from longer waits at airport security to as many as 13,000 teachers being laid off. Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a congressional panel the sequester would hollow the U.S. military because it would give the Pentagon little leeway in deciding how best to spend the money.
Debt Deadline Looms: These Cuts Will Hurt
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