Such an agreement proved impossible in the hyper-political climate of an election year, and the government-wide cuts opposed by both sides now are set to take effect. That would mean $85 billion in cuts for the rest of fiscal year 2013, which ends September 30, as part of a 10-year total of about $1 trillion.
A $110 billion proposal by Senate Democrats, which is similar to a plan by House Democrats, would replace the forced spending cuts for a year by getting more tax revenue from millionaires, stopping some agriculture subsidies and cutting military spending after the end of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014.
GOP leaders, meanwhile, seek to blame Obama for the forced spending cuts so that any hardships that result, such as predicted job losses and reductions in economic growth, get attributed to the president.
A majority of Americans support an approach that combines spending cuts and some tax increases to reduce federal deficits, according to surveys Thursday by Pew/USA Today and Bloomberg News.
However, another poll on Friday showed limited support for reducing specific programs, such as defense, entitlements, education and health care.
According to the new Pew Research Center survey, a majority of the public wants to either keep funding the same or increase it for 18 of 19 federal programs mentioned in the poll.
The only exception was U.S. aid for people in need around the world, with 49% of respondents saying such assistance should be increased or kept at current levels while 48% said it should be decreased.