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PHOENIX -- The clock is winding down as the $85 billion package of federal spending cuts moves closer to automatically kicking in.

KTAR'S political analyst Mike O'Neil said the cuts, known as a sequester, were not designed to cut spending and, at this stage, the Republicans and President Barack Obama are not likely to give an inch.

"[The sequester] was designed to put a gun to everybody's head and make them act."

The government has been trying to avoid the sequester for 18 months and O'Neil said Americans are tired of the Congressional Crisis of the Month routine.

Mesa Republican Mayor Scott Smith, whose name is being mentioned as a possible candidate in the Arizona governor race next year, said the sequester will be the shock it takes to get Congress to do its job.

"If we go through the sequester, I'm hoping the public outrage is such that we finally have an influence over the Washington, D.C. machine," he said.

Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who has also expressed interest in running for governor in 2014, said he is not optimistic that Congress and the White House will able to stop the sequestration. Campbell is very worried about the impact on Arizona's economy.

"The last thing Arizona needs is a hit to jobs. I wish the people in D.C. could get their act together and find common ground."

Jim Cross, Reporter

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