In remarks meant to urge action by Congress to avoid the automatic budget cuts scheduled to hit next Friday, President Obama was joined at the White House by emergency responders - the kinds of working Americans who he says could be out of work if Republicans fail to compromise on a more balanced solution.

"Just ten days from now, Congress might let a series of automatic cuts take place that [...] won't grow the economy, won't create jobs, and will put hardship on a whole lot of people," he said.

"If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place," the president asserted, it will jeopardize the nation's military readiness, emergency responders' abilities will be degraded, border patrol agents will see hours reduced, FBI agents will be furloughed, criminals will be let go because prosecutors will have to drop cases, and thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off.

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