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President Barack Obama said clean energy and privately owned small businesses would suffer if the automatic cuts in federal spending in the sequester take effect, starting on March 1, potentially blocking some small businesses from the resources they need to stay open.

The sequestration cuts were orchestrated by Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in late July 2011 as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling and will lead to an estimated $1.2 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years.

“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,” Obama said during his weekly address on Saturday.