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VOL. 37 | NO. 8 | Friday, February 22, 2013

Obama calls Boehner, McConnell as budget cuts loom

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell about the looming spending cuts set to kick in on March 1.

The calls are Obama's first in weeks to top Republicans in Congress. They come as both parties remain in a stalemate over how to avoid across-the-board automatic cuts that would trim $85 billion from most government accounts.

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart says the outreach was Obama's first since New Year's Eve.

White House spokesman Jay Carney revealed the calls Thursday. Neither he nor top Republican aides offered details about the discussions.

Obama is mounting a public campaign, including a trip to Virginia next week, to cast the cuts as damaging to national security and to other government services.