UPDATE 12:08 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Obama and Republicans are playing the blame game when it comes to automatic spending cuts that are due to kick in later in the day.
Obama met with lawmakers at the White House this morning and afterward told reporters, "Let's be clear: None of this is necessary. It's happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. We shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things."
Republicans countered by saying the fault was Obama's, for insisting that increased taxes be part of the resolution.
Obama says the impact of the cuts won't be felt immediately, but middle class families will begin to "have their lives disrupted in significant ways." He says as long as the cuts stay in effect, Americans will know that the economy could have been better had they been averted.
UPDATE 10:12 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says it may take a couple of weeks or a couple of months to reach a deal to end Washington's battle over spending cuts.
The president spoke after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that go into effect Friday.
Obama says the cuts are "dumb and arbitrary" and he blamed them on Republicans in Congress.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are meeting at the White House, with billions of dollars in automatic budget cuts ready to start kicking in.
The meeting got under way shortly after 10 a.m. EST. Representing Republicans are House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are the Democratic leaders in the meeting.
No breakthrough is expected to come out of the talks. But the meeting is an opportunity for all sides to stake out their fiscal positions with the threat of a government shutdown looming less than four weeks away.