Sequester Showdown: Automatic Spending Cuts Loom

Congress heads back to work after holiday, facing deadline for budget deal Friday.
1:45 | 02/24/13

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Transcript for Sequester Showdown: Automatic Spending Cuts Loom
Back in washington, congress returns to work tomorrow with a giant deadline ahead of them. On friday, $85 billion in automatic across the board budget cuts kick in, unless they can agree on an alternative. So what are the prospects with just five days ago? Abc's david kerley reports from the white house. Reporter: For a change -- bipartisan agreement in washington tonight. But it's acknowledgement that those automatic cuts, which just about everyone hates, will probably start friday. Unless the republicans are willing to compromise and do a balancedh, a iroac think it will kick in. It will kick in, but you're not going to see $85 billion all of a sudden shrink from the federal government. Reporter: If you listen to the president -- thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Reporter: It sounds like a disaster movie. Childcare canceled for tens of thousands of kids. Long airport security lines. Flight delays with a shortage of controllers. And military cuts that will leave us "second rate" according to the defense secretary. But those cuts, 5 to 7% for most government departments, will be phased in over the next seven months. And no workers will stay home, furloughed, for at least a month. Still the cuts are across the board. And that worries supporters of the defense department. I can find lots of waste and mismanagement, but, by god, across the board cuts are the worst and most cowardly way to approach this situation. Reporter: The roadblock? No budget deal. The president wants more tax revenue. Republicans say no. They've already raised taxes on the rich. Senate democrats are planning to bring up something this week to try to avert these automatic cuts. But it's unlikely that could pass in the republican house. So managing and governing through crisis continues, paula.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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