Pressure rises amid looming budget cuts

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February 20, 2013, 7:14 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Danielle Leigh, Washington) - The Pentagon is warning Congress about pending mass furloughs for civilian employees.

It's the latest attempt to pressure lawmakers to avoid the looming $1.2 trillion in budget cuts taking effect in just nine days.

Like he has in the past, the President is taking his case to the public- blaming Republicans for a lack of action.

And hoping to pressure lawmakers to stop the cuts before the month is up.

The fight over $1.2 trillion in across the board spending cuts set to begin March 1 - is raging on even with lawmakers out of town.

Now, it's the Pentagon's turn to warn Congress.

Under the so called sequester, more than 700,000 civilian employees would take one day off a week without pay- a 20 percent pay cut.

On Tuesday, President Obama blamed Republicans for holding up a deal.

He was surrounded at the White House by emergency responders- the president says could lose their jobs.

"These cuts are not smart, they are not fair. They will hurt our economy," said President Barack Obama.

President Obama wants to reduce the cuts with new revenue.

House Speaker John Boehner says the revenue debate is now closed.

"Republicans are uncomfortable with these defense cuts but ultimately they want to see some spending cuts implemented," said David Winston, GOP Strategist.

Lawmakers at home on recess- are feeling the pinch.

"The American people expect us to get serious about this and this is a missed opportunity to show we're serious about deficit reduction," said Rep. John Barrow, (D) Georgia.

A new deficit reduction plan by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson would cut the deficit by two-point-four trillion dollars over ten years.

"The truth is, both camps have got to get out of their comfort zone and they gotta make the tough decisions," said Erskine Bowles, Former White House Chief of Staff.

Lawmakers are unlikely to accept the plan.

It calls for changes to health care Social Security and the Tax Code.

Tags: Washington, congress, President Obama, taxes, Democrats, budget cuts, Republicans, Pentagon, tax cuts, spending cuts, danielle leigh, fiscal cliff
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