Finger pointing over sequester continues in Washington

Finger pointing over sequester continues in Washington

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Now that automatic budget cuts are a reality, Washington is in wait-and-see mode as federal agencies are forced to make do with less money.

The White House may be backing down from its doomsday scenarios, but it's keeping the pressure up on Republicans.

House Speaker John Boehner claims the government is in a sequester because; "The President demanded it and Senate Democrats refused to act." and the White House continues to blame Congressional Republicans for the sequester.

The finger pointing and blaming played out in more detail on Sunday talk shows.  Republicans and Democrats attacking each other about the cause of sequestration.  Republicans claim spending is the problem and must be dealt with.

"Republicans want tax reform. We want to bring rates down for all Americans so that we've got a fairer tax code. But to arbitrarily pull out a couple of tax expenditures and to say, 'Well, we ought to use that to get rid of the sequester.' Listen, every American knows Washington has a spending problem," said Boehner.

President Obama is urging Republicans to work on a compromise with him.  He is concerned about how the $85 billion in automatic spending will affect the economy.

"This will cause a ripple effect across the economy. Businesses will suffer because customers will have less money to spend," he said.  "The longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage."

The White House says economists estimate the sequester could cause a loss of 750,000 jobs and slow the economy by more than one half percent.

"Our hope is that as more Republicans start to see this pain in their own districts that they will choose bipartisan compromise over this absolutist position," said National Economic Director Gene Sperling on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Sperling adds, "This is not a win for anyone."

The uncertainty is even affecting stock markets overseas, which are slightly down.  And you can bet Wall Street is watching too.

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