US President Obama is feeling the chill of political deadlock as Democrats and Republicans play the blame game over budget cuts.
Automatic reductions are due to come into force unless the parties reach agreement to avoid the pruning. Democrats want tax rises, which Republicans reject.
John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives said: “The President talks about closing loopholes, but only as a solution to fund more government spending. Do we want to close loopholes? We sure do. But if we are going to do tax reform it should focus on creating jobs, not funding more government.”
Obama said the cuts – around 65 billion euros – will wound theUS economy and the International Monetary Fund has warned that they could erode global growth.
The reductions, known as the sequester, will hit military and domestic spending – with millions of federal workers facing 22 days off work without pay.
One federal worker wants an end to the brinkmanship, saying: “I hope they stop playing games and stop playing politics and start working for the people. Do the right thing!”
A slashing of the education budget is a concern for parents and Democratic house leader Nancy Pelosi warned that as many as 750,000 US jobs are on the line.
Obama is to host White House talks with leaders from both sides of the political divide to avoid any potential damage to the US economy.