Obama is scheduled to deliver a 10:45 AM ET statement from the White House supporting the plan and urging congressional Republicans to take action. He'll be joined by first responders whose jobs will be impacted if the sequester is allowed to take effect. We'll offer live updates throughout his remarks and talking about it in the comments.
7:46 AM PT: Fox's Brett Baier is trying to "frame" Obama's remarks, zeroing in on the fact that the Senate Democratic plan isn't guaranteed to pass the senate. Well, duh! There's this thing called the filibuster, and Senate Republicans can filibuster it if they want to spare the House GOP.
7:50 AM PT: President Obama has just taken the podium, with first responders standing behind him.
7:52 AM PT: "Just ten days from now Congress might let a series of severe automatic budget cuts to take place," the president says, which will harm the economy. He points out that there's already been $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction, more than halfway towards his goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction.
7:53 AM PT: Obama says the idea of the sequester was to create an unappealing alternative way of filling in the most of the rest of the gap to $4 trillion, but it hasn't worked as intended, he says, because Congress hasn't yet come up with a better way of achieving the $1+ trillion in deficit reductions.
7:55 AM PT: At stake, he says: Military readiness; the efficiency of our air travel system; teachers; flu vaccines. "These cuts are not smart, they are not fair. [...] This is not an abstraction—people will lose their jobs. [...] These cuts, known here in Washington as sequestration are a bad idea."
7:56 AM PT: Sequestration can be avoided, he says, but Congress must act. And, he says, for two years he's been offering plans on how to achieve the same amount of deficit reduction as the sequester and Simpson-Bowles through spending reform and tax reform.
7:58 AM PT: Obama says he wants a big deal, but if Congress can't act by Friday, "at a minimum" they should pass a smaller package to offset the sequester for a period of time. He says Democrats have offered such a plan, and it would be balanced, but all the GOP plans are completely unbalanced. "They'd rather have these cuts go into effect without closing a single tax loophole for the wealthy."
8:00 AM PT: Obama says he will not sign an unbalanced plan. The question, he says, is whether or not Republicans will compromise and accept a deal that has spending cuts and additional revenue through tax reform, or if they want to defend tax loopholes for the wealthy.
8:01 AM PT: "My door is open. I've put tough cuts and reforms on the table. I'm willing to work with anybody to get the job done. But nobody should expect to get 100 percent of what they want." (This is probably the GOP's perverted definition of inflexibility.)
8:03 AM PT: President Obama has concluded his remarks.
8:08 AM PT: My quick take: (a) We're all continuing to pay the price for the disastrous decision to use the debt limit as leverage for long-term deficit reduction in 2011; (b) Obama still really wants the grand bargain-type deal he's been seeking; (c) His framing—that the question is whether the GOP will force the sequester on America or will accept a compromise—is fairly strong and likely poses a political threat to Republicans if they refuse to compromise; (d) the fact that his framing likely poses a political threat to Republicans if the sequester goes forward is probably the only reason there's a chance of avoiding the sequester.