U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for lawmakers to reach a budget deal to avoid a round of deep spending cuts.
Speaking at the White House, Obama said the "brutal" and "arbitrary" cuts would hurt the government and cause people to lose their jobs.
"If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness, it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research, it will not consider whether we are cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day," Obama said. "It does not make those distinctions."
He urged Republicans to accept a plan proposed by Senate Democrats to raise revenue by ending certain tax exemptions for corporations and wealthy individuals.
In response to the president, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said "the president offered no credible plan that can pass Congress - only more calls for higher taxes". He added, "Spending is the problem, spending must be the focus."
The $85 billion in budget cuts, known as the sequester, are due to take effect March 1.
The budget cuts will be split evenly between domestic and military programs.
The White House says the sequester will harm the nation's fragile economic recovery. Republicans are opposed to raising any more government revenue after reaching a deal with Democrats earlier this year that increased income-tax rates on wealthy Americans. That agreement postponed the original January 1 deadline for the sequester to occur.