Big cuts loom large

(NBCNC) — With the holiday weekend behind us- the President and Congressional staffers are getting back to work this morning.

The one group missing from this equation- is lawmakers.

They're in recess all week- despite a March first deadline to avoid 85 billion dollars in automatic spending cuts.

Strategists on both sides say staffers are making calls- negotiating and trying to come up with alternative savings, but that isn't good enough for most voters.

President Obama is back at the White House- after a weekend golfing in Florida, but Congress is still away on recess- taking a break announced months ago.

Voters visiting the Capitol are upset lawmakers actually went home. "I'd be hard at work." said Minnesota resident Prudence Johnson.

Congress has just over a week to avoid self-imposed- across the board spending cuts. "So it is alarming that they are not paying attention to that it is less than a few weeks away" Minnesota resident Julie Johnson.

"In the past they have shown the will bring things down to the wire but they have been able to figure things out," says Maine resident Mark Dodge.

Lawmakers aren't entirely on vacation- they're back in their districts talking about the impact of the sequester.

In Boston, funding for health research would be reduced. "We've got to stop the sequestration cuts we can't strand our researchers," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D) Massachusetts.

In Indiana, meat inspector furloughs could slow production driving up the cost of your main course, and in San Diego, about 30,000 military jobs would be in jeopardy. "I'm as frustrated as you that they sent us home," said Rep. Scott Peters, (D) California.

Insiders say staffers are also negotiating even with their bosses away. "I believe at the staff level but also at the member level behind the scenes there is a lot of maneuvering back and forth." Robert Traynham/ Fmr. Bush-Cheney Sr. Adviser

Later this morning working Americans facing job loss will join President Obama at the White House.

He'll urge congress to balance cuts with new revenue to avoid hurting the economy and middle class families.
 

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