U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media after meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House, March 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama said that no agreement was reached with Republicans to avoid the sequester that will trigger automatic domestic and defense cuts. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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.