President Obama blames Republicans' refusal to close 'wasteful' loopholes as the cause of  automatic budget cuts that will go into effect at midnight.

President Obama holds a press conference on budget sequester (White House via YouTube)

Obama met with lawmakers at the White House this morning and afterward told reporters, "Let's be clear: None of this is necessary. It's happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. We shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things."

Republicans countered by saying the fault was Obama's, for insisting that increased taxes be part of the resolution.

Obama says the impact of the cuts won't be felt immediately, but middle class families will begin to "have their lives disrupted in significant ways." He says as long as the cuts stay in effect, Americans will know that the economy could have been better had they been averted.

No "Jedi Mind Melds"


President Barack Obama (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama says he can't do a "Jedi mind meld" with Republican leaders and persuade them to do what he believes is right when it comes to trimming federal spending.

Asked if he could refuse to allow Republican leaders of the House and Senate to leave a White House meeting until a budget agreement was reached, Obama said that's not how a constitutional form of government works.

Obama took questions from the media at the White House after meeting with congressional leaders.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)