Oklahomans await news of looming budget cuts as sequestration deadline nears

TULSA - With just hours to go before $85 billion in federal spending cuts go into effect, President Obama is slated to meet with congressional leaders in a last minute effort to avoid sequestration.

After weeks of inaction, though, both parties are still playing the blame game with the deadline looming.

On the eve of these cuts, lawmakers left town, pointing fingers on the way out.  Both sides failed to come to an agreement over spending plans.

Now President Obama is likely to issue an order that will slash federal spending for the rest of the fiscal year

Republicans aren't claiming responsibility for the inaction but Democrats are criticizing Republicans for the furloughs the cuts will cause.

Expectations are low for the last ditch effort meeting Friday to avoid the sequester.

Observers say both parties will use this as an opportunity to emphasize their points before a government shutdown, but no one will leave as a winner.

The looming budget cuts could have a big impact on the sooner state.

Governor Mary Fallin and other state leaders have warned the budget cuts will impact military bases, education and Indian services.  Cherokee Nation officials say sequestration will chop their funding by tens of thousands of dollars and its government services to citizens, including food, health care and housing, would be affected.

State leaders predict more than 26,000 people at five Oklahoma military bases would lose their jobs and the state of Oklahoma would lose more than $12 million in education funding.  About 800 children would lose access to the Head Start program.

Even local businesses, like Tactical Electronics in Broken Arrow, which sells supplies to the military, would be impacted.

Republicans say spending must be controlled to make way for smaller government.  The White House says the cuts will be devastating to American families.

The deadline to avoid the cuts is 11:59 p.m. ET.

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