President Barack Obama speaks about the sequester, as he stands with emergency responders, a group of workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of budget cuts, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has signed an order authorizing the government to begin cutting $85 billion from federal accounts, officially enacting across-the-board reductions that he opposed but failed to avert.
Obama acted Friday, the deadline for the president and Congress to avoid the steep, one-year cuts.
Obama has insisted on replacing the cuts, known as a "sequester" in government budget language, with tax increases and cuts spread out over time. Republicans have rejected any plan that included tax revenue.
The government says the reductions will soon result in furlough notices to government employees and will trim government spending on defense contracts and in domestic government programs. Active military personnel and anti-poverty and low-income assistance programs are largely protected from the cuts.