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Obama goes on local TV in fight with Republicans over budget cuts

Published on Feb 21, 2013 12:53 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama turned to local television stations across the United States on Wednesday to increase public pressure on congressional Republicans to avert US$85 billion (S$105 billion) in budget cuts set to begin in nine days.

Mr Obama scheduled interviews with television stations in eight markets, most of which have a strong military presence, on a day when the Pentagon was set to describe its plans for laying off some 800,000 civilian employees for 22 days to save money.

The interviews are part of an administration strategy to lay blame for the job losses on Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.

Unless Mr Obama and Republicans reach a deal, about US$85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts will kick in at the beginning of March and continue through Sept 30 as part of a decade-long US$1.2 trillion budget savings plan agreed in 2011.

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