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TODAY   |  February 28, 2013

Sequester spending cuts set to kick in tomorrow

Despite dire warnings from the White House about what might happen if deep spending cuts are not avoided, Congressional leaders won’t meet with President Obama until tomorrow. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>> the politics in this country and showdown in washington over massive budget cuts set to kick in tomorrow, the sequester. they could hit hard tomorrow but there seems to be very little urgency on the part of the white house or congress to avoid them. christine welker, good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, good morning to you. democrats and republicans are basically staring each other down waiting to see who blinks first. president obama wants new tax revenue . republicans want spending cuts. at this point, it appears neither side is willing to give in and they're barely speaking. from the west coast --

>> they're digging their heels in for political reasons.

>> reporter: to the east coast .

>> name-calling and finger-pointing don't get us anywhere.

>> reporter: frustration over washington 's sequester stalemate. despite dire warnings from the white house .

>> people will get hurt, the reality.

>> reporter: the president and congressional leaders aren't meeting until tomorrow the same day the sequester cuts are slated to begin to take effect. the only acknowledged meeting between the president and lawmakers this week occurred wednesday, just before an event honoring rosa parks .

>> it was a very brief meeting.

>> reporter: so brief, republican sources say it only lasted about one minute. on the president's schedule today. meetings for gop house speaker john boehner , also meetings, plenty of time but no plans to talk to each other. analysts say there is less urgency than past fiscal fights because the $85 billion in budget cuts don't happen right away, and taxes are off the tabl table.

>> there's no tax increase portion in this deal. i think there's less urgency and immediacy in the american public, which makes there be less immediacy and urgency in its politicians.

>> reporter: instead of negotiations on wednesday, only familiar talking points.

>> the issue is political. the question is whether or not we are going to see a willingness on the part of all parties to compromise.

>> the democrats that control washington still haven't put forward a serious bipartisan plan.

>> reporter: the fifth budget battle in the past two years and apparently the new normal in washington .

>> i think it's a sorry state of affairs.

>> reporter: at this point, it seems all but inevitable, the sequester will kick in. as a backdrop, veteran reporter bob woodward is telling us the white house is lashing out at him for writing an article which claimed the sequester was all president obama 's idea. the white house has made the point that republicans overwhelmingly supported the plan as well. matt.

>> kristen welker at the white house . the budget sequester will be the focus of "meet the press" this sunday when david gregory has an exclusive meeting with the speaker of the house , john boehner .