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February 19, 2013

Obama to urge Congress to avoid sequester

Back from three days of golfing in Florida, President Obama today will appear at the White House to urge Congress to avoid automatic budget cuts scheduled to hit next Friday.

A White House official says Obama will be joined by emergency responders – "the kinds of working Americans whose jobs are on the line if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise on a balanced solution."

The White House maintains that if the cuts go into effect, hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost "and middle class families all across the nation will feel the devastating impact." The White House says FEMA would need to eliminate funding for state and local grants that support firefighters and state and local emergency management personnel, "hampering our ability to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies."

Obama has demanded tax increases as part of any fix, but House Republicans have resisted. The White House says Obama today will "challenge Republicans to make a very simple choice: do they protect investments in education, health care and national defense or do they continue to prioritize and protect tax loopholes that benefit the very few at the expense of middle and working class Americans?"

Obama returned to the White House Monday night after three days of golfing, including an outing with Tiger Woods that prompted protest by the White House press corps which wasn't allowed to shoot the event.

As Obama returned to the White House, a group of reporters yelled, "Did you beat Tiger?" The White House pool report suggests Obama heard them, but "just smiled" and walked into the White House.

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