- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The White House is telling agency officials to “continue normal spending and operations” even as they face what the administration is calling “highly destructive” across-the-board budget cuts in January.

Acting White House budget chief Jeffrey Zients says President Obama remains confident that lawmakers will act to address the automatic spending cuts, which would slash the Pentagon budget by about 10 percent and also slam domestic programs if the cuts were allowed to take effect on Jan. 2.

Mr. Zients said in a memo to agency heads that the budget office will be consulting with agencies on how the spending cuts would have to be implemented if Congress and Obama together fail to avert them.

The automatic cuts were set up to prod last year’s deficit “supercommittee” to reach agreement.

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