President Barack Obama urged Congress to postpone automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin March 1 to avoid "real and lasting impacts" on U.S. economic growth.
Obama said lawmakers should act on a smaller package of spending cuts and changes to the tax code that would increase revenue, such as limiting tax breaks, to replace part of the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board reductions.
"Deep, indiscriminate cuts" in federal spending "will cost us jobs and slow down our recovery," Obama said. "This doesn't have to happen."
The March 1 deadline marks another fiscal showdown between the administration and House Republicans.
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