Automatic cuts will have to wait until midnight

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Updated: 3/01/2013 9:08 am Published: 3/01/2013 5:44 am

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama is still hopeful that something can be worked out with Congress to avert the $85 billion in military and domestic spending cuts set to take effect today.

The White House says that's why Obama is waiting until the last moment possible to put the cuts into effect.

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that "on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013." That's budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1. Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday - or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.  Because, Carney's says, Obama is "ever hopeful."

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