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President Obama, House Republicans Hunker Down For ‘Fiscal Cliff Part II’

White House, Congress Draw Battle Lines Over 'Sequester' Spending Cuts
President Barack Obama returns to the White House - Feb. 13, 2013 (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama returns to the White House – Feb. 13, 2013 (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama has a warning for everyone: people will lose their jobs if Congress does not step in and stop automatic spending cuts.

The next fiscal cliff is just 10 days away, and it could hit the Tri-State Area hard, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.

You could call it the shame game — President Obama appearing with first responders whose ranks will be cut if $85 billion in deficit reduction spending cuts are allowed to go into effect a week from Friday.

“These cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt the economy,” Obama said.

The president painted a grim picture of what will happen if the so-called “sequester” spending cuts go into effect: a reduction in tens of thousands of federal jobs — everyone from food safety inspectors to law enforcement agents — and big cuts in defense spending.

“They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls,” the president said.

In the Tri-State Area it could mean $800 million dollars in lost Hurricane Sandy aid, the elimination of 70,000 jobs in New York and $3.5 billion in lost income.

It could mean 11,200 fewer children could get vaccinated, and $38 million cut from special education funding in New York affecting 19,855 students.

More than 70,000 students would lose tuition assistance.

Instead, the president wants house Republicans to raise taxes by closing tax loopholes and to find less onerous spending cuts.

Republicans said the blame game is an Obama gimmick to avoid responsibility. They said the president proposed the sequester cuts in the first place.

“The president has drawn a line in the sand. He wants to raise taxes, period, at all costs. He wants to raise taxes. It doesn’t matter that it’s going to hurt the economy,” Rep. Michael Grimm said.

The Staten Island congressman said he is particularly incensed about the loss of Sandy aid.

“It’s unacceptable,” Grimm said. “People are devastated and now they’re frustrated and angry.”

Congressman Grimm said there are plenty of things that could be cut — like a $2 billion program to provide cell phones to low-income Americans. Published reports found that large numbers of people who have received the phones haven’t proved they were eligible to get them in the first place.

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