President Barack Obama has described a series of budget cuts totalling $85 billion as "dumb and arbitrary".
The measures are set to come into effect at 11:59pm tonight after congressional leaders failed to reach agreement on how to tackle the deficit.
There are fears the series of automatic cuts - known as sequestration - could damage US economic growth and lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses.
ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:
More top news
Supermarket website glitches have caused problems for shoppers who ordered their Christmas food delivery online.
Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother were the most complained about programmes on British television this year, according to Ofcom.
A mild start to the Christmas week across many parts of the UK, rain spreading southwards over the next few days.