(Story updated at 9 p.m. ET)
As expected, President Barack Obama on Friday signed an order for sequestration (PDF) that sets in motion the automatic federal budget cuts outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Along with the executive order, the Office of Management and Budget sent an 83-page sequestration report to Congress (PDF) that includes calculations and percentages on how budget resources will be reduced. Earlier Friday, the president met with congressional leaders and later said the nation will get through the period of sequestration, but it will be painful process.
“This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think, as some people have said,” the president said during a news conference at the White House. “It's just dumb. And it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt individual people and it's going to hurt the economy overall.”
Despite strong lobbying efforts from the nation's physicians, hospitals, healthcare associations and other industry groups, Congress was unable to pass legislation to replace the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that were established in the Budget Control Act of 2011 as a way to help reduce the federal deficit. The mandatory, arbitrary cuts, which neither political party favored, were put in place to force both sides to reach a grand bargain that would reduce the federal deficit, but no such deal has been realized. The order Obama signed cancels about $85 billion in federal budget resources for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year, according to a memo from the Office of Management and Budget.