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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- At midnight, $85 billion in mandatory budget cuts will take effect unless a deal is reached.
And Republican Senator Mitch McConnell told reporters today that the President and Congress have "moved beyond the sequester."
House and Senate leaders were unable to reach a deal at a White house meeting this morning. The cuts slash everything from the military to education.
"None of this is necessary," President Obama said Friday morning. "It's happening because a choice that Republicans in Congress have made."
Fresh from a trip to Washington, McConnell disputed that statement at Louisville International Airport.
"We'd be happy to provide the President with the flexibility to reduce exactly this amount of spending over the next six months, in a different way," said Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. "But we're not interested in and will not reduce a penny less in spending that we promised the American people we would a year and a half ago, in a bill that he signed."
McConnell stressed that Americans have been dealing with far greater cuts to their personal spending in recent years.
"Let me further add that we're talking about a 2.4 percent reduction in federal spending out of $3.6 trillion a year," McConnell said. "Most American families have had to experience reductions far greater than that in their own budgets and in their own lives at various points over the last four years. This is doable. It's achievable. "And it begins to reduce federal spending.
Although the President and Democrats have painted a dismal picture of what will happen to the economy when the cuts go into effect, McConnell says it won't be that bad.
"A lot of people said that the tax increases the President has been asking for -- and got -- at the end of the year might hurt the economy," McConnell said. "I'd be a lot more inclined to believe that tax increases will hurt the economy....
"The stock market has been rising in anticipation of the sequester; it's hard to argue that it won't have an impact somewhere. But on the economy at large, will the economy be adversely affected by a 2.4 percent reduction in government spending? I think not."
Republican speaker John Boehner said the House plans to act next week to keep the money flowing longer.