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:
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The speech was OK, passionate at times and certainly well received, but did not display the passion of past speeches.
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