NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The “sequester” is now the law of the land, with President Barack Obama having signed the order Friday night that triggered $85 billion in mandated budget cuts.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the cuts will be gradual, for the most part, taking months actually to feel. And President Obama said he is not expecting a major financial crisis.
But some – in particular the middle class – will face furloughs and pay cuts that will cause a ripple effect, and a loss of 750,000 jobs.
Obama made the “sequester” cuts official just after 8 p.m. Friday. Government agencies now must cut $85 billion in spending.
Hours prior, Obama met with Congressional leaders in hopes of calling the whole thing off. But they were unable to come up with any last-minute agreement, and were still taking shots at one another.
Obama called the cuts “dumb and arbitrary.”
“None of this is necessary. It’s happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful tax loophole to help reduce the deficit,” Obama said Friday.
The president is doing everything he can to get his message across. When asked why he didn’t use force to keep both sides at the table, the Obama told reporters, “I’m not a dictator… I’m the president.”
He even evoked “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”
“Most people agree that I’m presenting a fair deal. The fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right,” the president said.
Republicans said they don’t want to raise taxes again, since they just went up two months ago.
“Let’s make it clear that the president got his tax hikes on January 1st his discussion about revenue in my view is over,” said U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
But people want to know how the “sequester” will affect them.
“These cuts, they’re not going to happen today, or tomorrow or immediately. But if they are permanent, the impact on New Yorkers is going to be severe,” said U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who opposed the cuts from the beginning.