Leon Panetta's boss stops by the Pentagon to bid farewell to his departing Defense Secretary.
"I wish Leon well," President Obama said. "He has served his country well."
Meantime the Obama administration is stepping up pressure on Congress, releasing a list of how deep and looming federal spending cuts will hurt American families and national defense. The White House said if Congress doesn't stop the sequester government workers will be furloughed.
There will be cuts to head start for kids and meals on wheels for seniors.
The F.B.I. will hire fewer agents and it could limit the Justice Department's ability to fight crime.
"This budget uncertainty could prompt the most significant readiness, military readiness crisis in more than a decade," Panetta siad.
Panetta warned lawmakers Thursday that budget cuts have already forced him to reduce the aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf from two to one and he says tougher consequences lie ahead if Congress doesn't act.
Republicans say they've offered two alternatives that Democrats wont support. The two sides remain far apart about how to approach future cuts.
"We've asked the President repeatedly to join us in replacing sequester cuts with cuts that make sense to this point not taken us seriously," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.
The President gets a chance to use the bully pulpit next week when he delivers his State of the Union and is likely to address the sequester as well as ongoing fiscal fights over the debt ceiling and government funding.