U.S. President Barack Obama has signed the order to implement $85 billion in spending cuts.
Obama had urged Democrats and Republicans to find a compromise, but with the deadline for ordering the cuts approaching at midnight Washington time on March 1 and with no signs of a deal he has signed the order.
The sweeping cuts, known as sequestration, were suppose to be a means to overcome differences on coping with the country’s $11.7 trillion debt.
The cuts are part of a law passed two years ago that aimed to be so punishing it would force Democrats and Republicans to find a compromise.
The cuts slice 5 percent from domestic agencies and 8 percent from the Pentagon between March 1 and October 1.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP