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February 27, 2013

When do the spending cuts go into effect?

You know things are bad when the two sides can't even agree on when the deadline is they have bickering about for weeks.

White House officials say the cuts will take effect 12:01 a.m. Friday. Republicans on Capitol Hill say it's 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

What difference does it make?

Republicans are accusing President Obama of calling a meeting with congressional leaders Friday at the White House after the deadline has passed.

Obama did speak briefly -- for only a matter of minutes -- with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Wednesday when the president joined leaders to dedicate a statute to Rosa Parks at the Capitol.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president hopes the lawmakers will have a "constructive discussion about preventing sequestration" on Friday.

"The president looks forward to a conversation when he has this meeting this is constructive and that includes suggestions by leaders about how we can move forward towards the kind of balanced deficit
reduction that this is all about,'' Carney said.

But Carney declined to say if the White House is assuming the cuts will go into effect Friday because of the meeting's late date.

"Compromise here in Washington can usually be measured by a willingness of one leader to put forward proposals that demonstrate tough choices by his side or her side," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "What we have not seen from the Republicans is anything like the willingness to compromise inherent in the proposals that the president has put forward."

Carney said the president is willing to compromise, but if Republicans do not compromise and are willing to raise revenue.

"I think that, you know, we remain hopeful that congressional leaders, Republicans will understand the need to come together and support balance," he said. "Again, the choice that Republicans would be making
if they don't agree to that is a choice between up to 750,000 people losing their jobs on the one hand and asking that some special interest tax loopholes be closed on the other. I don't think that's a
choice that seems like a hard one to most Americans. Unfortunately, it seems like a difficult one for Republicans."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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