President Obama urged Congress Tuesday to avoid the "meat-cleaver approach" of automatic, across-the-board federal budget cuts set to take effect March 1, as two deficit hawks proposed an alternative plan involving curbs to most tax expenditures that they hope will gain bipartisan support.

Speaking at a White House press conference, Obama said the looming sequester, "will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research." He added, "These cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt our economy. They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls. This is not an abstraction - people will lose their jobs."

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