As sequestration draws closer, President Barack Obama spoke directly to Congress on Tuesday and called on lawmakers to act now to avoid the drastic cuts that could greatly hurt servicemembers and first responders. Decrying the "meat cleaver" approach (the sequester would result in automatic cuts of $85 billion), Obama said the economic impact of inaction will be significant.

The statements come just 10 days before the March 1 deadline and echo the sentiments Obama has conveyed over the last two months. He says that Congress should agree on a balanced approach to debt reduction that would include both spending cuts and increases in revenue from closing tax loopholes. Failing to do these could have a dramatic impact on everything from military readiness to flu vaccines, Obama noted.

"These cuts are not smart, they are not fair," he said. "This is not an abstraction – people will lose their jobs. These cuts, known here in Washington as sequestration, are a bad idea."

While it remains to be seen whether the cuts will be enacted, that has not assuaged any fears among the military community. According to, the cuts could impact everything from local schools for families of servicemembers to vital programs for soldiers.