Katty Kay answers your sequester questions

Katty Kay at her desk in Washington DC 28 February 2013

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President Barack Obama will meet congressional leaders on Friday in an effort to negotiate a deal to avert a series of automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester in Washington DC. The cuts would take $85bn (£56bn) from the US federal budget this year.

It is the latest in a series of show-downs between the president and Republicans in Congress over fiscal policy. Will Mr Obama and the Democrats strike a last-minute deal with the Republicans? Will the cuts harm the already weak US economy?

BBC World News America presenter Katty Kay answered your questions in a live Twitter chat on Thursday.

This is an edited version of the session:

Katty tweets: Hello from @BBCNewsUS in Washington, DC - we are ready to get started with your #sequester questions #AskBBCKatty

Mike emails: Why is Obama insisting defence and emergency services be part of sequester, instead of non-essential services?

Katty answers: He is not insisting… defence and emergency services were part of the package of cuts agreed between WH & congress

Peter in Texas emails: Why has there not been any question on cutting Foreign Aid before cutting benefits and programs in the US?

Katty answers: Foreign Aid WILL be cut as part of this crazy deal

Twitter user @TheIntDC asks: Will political parties face voter backlash for failing to reach a deal?

Katty answers: They both think the other party will suffer more. But if the economy declines, no one will benefit from this. It's madness

A G+ follower asks: How many of the rest of us could screw up as badly as congress and not get sacked?

Katty answers: Genius question! If it weren't for gerrymandered districts maybe they all would be sacked in 2014

A reader emails: Will Republicans cave on sequester due to the fact their supporters will not stand for military budget cuts?

Katty answers: It's a big political deal because Republicans haven't wanted ANY cuts to the Pentagon budget until recently

Twitter user ‏@rburrowsjr asks: Why do you think the financial markets aren't reacting more negatively to the impasse?

Katty answers: Interesting isn't it. Neither markets nor public have focused on sequester as they did on fiscal cliff... but they still could

Twitter user @dasteelman asks: Do you think the 'tea party' movement has peaked or do you think it can grow bigger?

Katty answers: Has the fever broken? TP looked like it'd peaked in November, now it's proving it's strength again. Watch 2014

Twitter user @bestdogadvice asks: Why has nothing like the sequester or Fiscal cliff ever happened in countries such as the UK just the US?

Katty answers: Sequester hasn't happened in US before either. UK doesn't have a debt ceiling limit

Twitter user @Babajees asks: How will the sequester effect the "war on terror"?

Katty answers: The Pentagon budget will be cut by 8% so potentially all areas of national security will be affected

A Facebook follower asks: Who do you think is at fault?

Katty answers: I say a plague on both their houses

Twitter user @NathanealSansam asks: Do you think that the debate around immigration reform has been effected by the sequester

Katty answers: It's certainly pushed it off the front pages

A reader emails: Obama administration calls sequester a disaster- wouldn't a deal on the natl debt require even greater cuts?

Katty answers: A major deal on the debt would require bigger cuts but in different areas. These are the wrong cuts for long term growth

Twitter user @SachaJones93 asks: What implications will the sequester have on traveling to and from the USA?

Katty answers: The White House says sequester will cause longer lines at American airports - yuk!

A G+ follower asks: Will we even notice or care if the sequester happens?

Katty answers: Up for debate. WH says sky will fall on our heads. Some economists suggest no big deal. You won't see anything for a month

Twitter user @SifuMikeCamba asks: Did the deal to end the Fiscal Cliff cause the sequester?

Katty answers: Yes

Katty answers: Cont.. Oops. Actually, debt ceiling led to sequester. Bush tax cuts led to fiscal cliff. It's ok to be confused on this

Jorge emails: Who do you think Europeans will blame for sequester, if (& I suppose, when) it happens?

Katty answers: They're bound to blame the Tea Party - they always do!

Twitter user @M00NHARE asks: Will #sequester affect global economic outlook?

Katty answers: Sequester expected to reduce US GDP by 0.3%. Doesn't sound much but, yes, it would affect countries that export to America

Twitter user @pepelasvegas asks: Shouldn't US spend more money on jobs program? At this point, debt reduction not crucial

Katty answers: It's a big debate among economists - if we cut too much too soon we kill recovery but long term debt growth is a real problem

A Twitter follower asks: Which came first your name or job?

Katty answers: You'll have to ask my Mum!

Twitter user ‏@vaisbrodas asks: Fiscal cliff, sequester what's next? Political deadlock in US to stay? Democrats too ambitious or GOP too backward?

Katty answers: I don't see any way out of deadlock. Neither side trusts the other. It's really depressing, and bad for the country

Twitter user @jcnewtonIU asks: Why does it seem like all these Armageddon-esque financial problems are happening now?

Katty answers: Actually there are structural timing reasons for each of them but the lack of trust btwn WH and GOP makes each hard to resolve

Katty tweets: Thank you for joining us today from the @BBCNewsUS newsroom. We'll see you at our next #AskBBCKatty #Twitter session

For more tweets from Katty Kay, you can follow her Twitter account: @KattyKayBBC

Produced by Glenn Osten Anderson and Claudia Milne

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