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WASHINGTON (USA Today) -- The White House agrees that $85 billion in automatic spending cuts start Friday - late Friday, as late as possible.

"The sequester begins (at) midnight on the 1st of March," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Among other things, this means that President Obama's meeting with congressional leaders on Friday will take place before the sequester becomes law.

According to the law - first approved in 2011 as part of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling - Obama is required to issue a sequestration order by 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

The order will cite reductions in various budgets in amounts calculated by the Office of Management and Budget, which would also transmit a report detailing reductions in each account.

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