Obama seeks short-term budget fix

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will ask Congress to come up with tens of billions of dollars in short-term spending cuts and tax revenue to put off the automatic across-the-board cuts that are scheduled to kick in March 1.

Obama was set to make his request this afternoon in a public statement at the White House.

The automatic cuts, if they are allowed to proceed, could be a further blow to the weak U.S. economic recovery. They could require widespread layoffs and indiscriminately affect defense programs and domestic spending accounts.

Obama will ask for a targeted way to reduce the deficit in the short term, perhaps several months. White House officials said Congress needs more time to work out a 10-year plan worth more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction. Obama is not placing a time span or a dollar amount on the short-term plan. Officials said he will leave that to Congress.

Finding deficit reductions of up to $85 billion would put off the automatic cuts, known as a "sequester" in government budget language, until the start of the new fiscal year.

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