The morning after $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts kicked in, President Obama is calling once more for lawmakers to compromise to halt the damaging impact the sequester will have on the nation's economy.
"These cuts are not smart," Obama said in his weekly address. "They will hurt our economy and cost us jobs. And Congress can turn them off at any time - as soon as both sides are willing to compromise."
The president warned that "not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away," but that, "the pain will be real."
"Beginning this week, businesses that work with the military will have to lay folks off," Obama said. "Communities near military bases will take a serious blow. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who serve their country - Border Patrol agents, FBI agents, civilians who work for the Defense Department - will see their wages cut and their hours reduced."
"Here's the thing: None of this is necessary," he said. "It's happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit. Just this week, they decided that protecting special interest tax breaks for the well-off and well-connected is more important than protecting our military and middle-class families from these cuts."
The president is calling for a "balanced approach" of spending cuts and tax increases to replace the sequester. Republicans, however, insist that new tax revenue is off the table.
"I know there are Republicans in Congress who would actually rather see tax loopholes closed than let these cuts go through," Obama said. "And I know there are Democrats who'd rather do smart entitlement reform than let these cuts go through. There's a caucus of common sense. And I'm going to keep reaching out to them to fix this for good."