Obama signs sequester order, blames Republicans over budget impasse

President Obama signed an order Friday night to begin automatic budget cuts across most federal departments.

The White House released a copy of the order at 8:31 p.m. Friday, directing federal agencies to reduce spending in various accounts by percentages calculated by the Office on Management and Budget.

After failing to reach a deal with congressional leaders to avoid $85 billion in automatic “sequester” budget cuts, President Obama on Friday blamed the crisis squarely on Republican lawmakers.

“They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit,” Mr. Obama said at the White House after a Friday morning meeting with top congressional Republicans and Democrats that broke no new ground. “Many middle-class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways.”

But neither side showed any signs of yielding Friday, and Republicans said the reason for the impasse is Mr. Obama’s insistence on more tax increases.

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