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Obama agenda: Sequester crunch time

“Facing yet another fiscal deadline, President Barack Obama is urging congressional Republicans to accept more tax revenue in order to avert looming, across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect in less than two weeks,” the AP reports. “Obama, fresh off a three-day Florida golfing trip, was to press his case during an event at the White House on Tuesday morning. Emergency responders, a group of workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of the cuts, were joining him. The $85 billion in cuts, known as the sequester, will start taking effect on March 1 unless Congress acts.”

“President Obama will urge congressional Republicans to avoid automatic budget cuts next month by appearing Tuesday with a group of emergency responders who might have to absorb some of those cuts,” USA Today writes. “The group of emergency responders who will stand beside Obama at 10:45 a.m. are "the kinds of working Americans whose jobs are on the line if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise on a balanced solution," said an addition to the White House schedule.”

“Congress must replace upcoming ‘dumb’ across-the-board budget cuts with targeted spending cuts and sweeping changes to tackle the nation's debt without restricting economic growth, the former co-chairs of President Obama's debt commission say in a revamped bipartisan proposal for fiscal restraint,” USA Today writes. “Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton's former chief of staff, and former senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, were scheduled to appear at a Washington breakfast hosted by Politico on Tuesday to promote their renewed call for fiscal restraint under the banner of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.” They write in an outline of their proposal: "The mindless, across-the-board cuts from sequestration would reduce the deficit, but represent the wrong approach to budgeting.”

Bob Woodward on FOX News Sunday said the sequester was the White House’s idea, but that everyone “has their fingerprints on this.” “First of-, it was the White House, it was Obama and Jack Lew and Rob Nabors who went to the Democratic leader in the Senate Harry Reid and said this is the solution, but everyone has their fingerprints on this and it is everyone's - it is the policy and it is law, what is important about it is, it is a governing travesty.”

Stories that will only increase as the sequester deadline nears… The Boston Globe: “Massachusetts will lose more than 60,000 jobs, much of it in the defense industry, and $127 million in federal research funding, harming a critical sector of the state economy, if Congress allows across-the-board spending cuts to go into effect in March, according to a report released Friday by Representative Edward Markey of Malden.”

WTOP radio: “Virginia's governor to Obama: Don't let sequestration happen.” McDonnell writes in a letter to the president that the sequester is “already having a significant adverse effect on the Commonwealth.” He adds, “When fully implemented, they could force Virginia and other states into a recession.” He says the government needs to “cut spending” and even calls the debt “immoral,” but in a “not in my backyard” twist, McDonnell writes, “We just ask that you don’t put a disproportionate share of the burden on our defenders of freedom.” Here’s McDonnell’s full letter to Obama.

The sequester would equally cut domestic programs and Defense.

Vice President Biden “will be speaking Thursday at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, which is just a few miles away from the scene of the Dec. 14 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,” AP writes.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hits the speaking circuit, where she could make “close to $200,000 per speech in the U.S. — and as much as $750,000 in the high-priced Asian and Middle Eastern markets,” the New York Daily News writes. “Bill Clinton earned $13.4 million on the speechmaking circuit in 2011, according to the most recent financial disclosure statement Hillary Clinton filed as secretary of state.”

First Lady Michelle Obama cut her hair because she’s having a mid-life crisis, she told Rachel Ray. "This is my midlife crisis, the bangs. I couldn't get a sports car. They won't let me bungee jump. So instead, I cut my bangs." The do was first seen on Jan. 17, her 49th birthday.