TODAY | February 09, 2013
>>> president obama is gearing up for another fight with congressional lawmakers. this one over the impending sweeping spending cuts that could have a major effect on you. kristen welker's at the white house . good morning.
>> reporter: erica, good morning to you. senior administration officials say president obama will spend the weekend working on his state of the union address . it's a speech that will focus largely on the economy and the middle class . this as washington gets closer to yet another potential economic crisis. amy baca ohlert is a high school counselor from colorado. she's traveled to washington with other educators with a message to congress.
>> the time when we are looking at ways to keep our schools safer, these across-the-board cuts would impact those positions and those people who keep our schools safe.
>> reporter: she's talking about the so-called sequester. $85 billion in spending cuts set to kick in march 1. meant to be so egregious that lawmakers would have to come to agreement on deficit reduction. but that hasn't happened. and time is running out.
>> if the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of americans who work in fields like national security , education, or clean energy are likely to be laid off.
>> reporter: the cuts would also amount to a 13% reduction for the military.
>> this will badly damage our national defense and compromise our ability to respond to crises in a dangerous world.
>> reporter: in washington , it's the same old sticking points with the president insisting the deal include new taxes.
>> we sure as heck should be willing to ask those of us who are luckiest in society to close a few loopholes and deductions that the average american doesn't get.
>> reporter: while republicans say it's time to reform entitlements and cut spending.
>> we believe there's a better way to lower the deficit, but americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes.
>> i think the chances of a deal to avert the sequester are less than 50/50 because you're looking at a very short time frame between now and march 1 to deal with a very complex number and a large set of potential cuts to the federal budget .
>> reporter: meanwhile, for millions of americans , the deadline isn't about party politics . it's about preserving what's important.
>> come together to find a solution so that we don't have cuts that will harm our students.
>> reporter: while the president has a quiet day, the first lady travels to chicago to attend the funeral of hadia pendleton. the teen who performed at president obama 's inauguration and who was shot to death several days later. erica?
>> kristen welker at the white