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Obama: US will get through the sequester

Sequester is "a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts", said President Barack Obama after a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House, and with no last-minute deal to eliminate the sequester. He warned about the effects on the US economy and its citizens, saying the longer it goes on, "the greater the damage to our economy".

"At a time when our businesses have finally begun to get some traction, hiring new workers, bringing jobs back to America, we shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on, like education and research and infrastructure and defense," Obama said. "As long as the sequester's in place, we'll know that that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act".

However, Obama sounded optimistic and left the door open for further negotiations. He said he would honor previous commitments but pressed for higher taxes to replace the spending cuts. "We will get through this, will not be an Apocalypse", he said while mentioning that there was silent support on Capitol Hill among Republicans and Democrats for his balanced approach.

He added that common sense may prevail in a few weeks as Americans begin to feel the impact of the spending cuts that will go into effect in a few hours.

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