Obama signs order to begin spending cuts

President was opposed to $85B in cuts

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has signed an order authorizing the government to begin cutting $85 billion from federal accounts, officially enacting across-the-board reductions that he opposed but failed to avert.

READ MORE: How budget cuts could affect you

Obama acted Friday, the deadline for the president and Congress to avoid the steep, one-year cuts.

Obama has insisted on replacing the cuts, known as a "sequester" in government budget language, with tax increases and cuts spread out over time. Republicans have rejected any plan that included tax revenue.

The government says the reductions will soon result in furlough notices to government employees and will trim government spending on defense contracts and in domestic government programs. Active military personnel and anti-poverty and low-income assistance programs are largely protected from the cuts.

Rosemary Duff Florist is not the business that comes to mind in the lead up to the automatic budget cuts, but the small Escondido business, on a scale of 1 to 10, is worried.

"I would say a worry of 7 or 8, yeah, there's a lot of defense in this area," said Mary Ann Santrach, a part owner of the store.

"People aren't going to be spending at the dry cleaners or restaurants, every single business will be impacted one way or another," said Debra Rosen with the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce.

The $85 billion in cuts will be slow to roll out.  

Layoff notices for some 800,000 federal employees won't take effect until 30 days after they are mailed.

The looming fight ahead is March 27, when the continuing resolution to keep the government operating expires.

Either a new continuing resolution will be needed or a new budget.

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