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President Barack Obama is concerned about the effect that looming, drastic across-the-board budget cuts will have on the middle class, his new chief of staff said Sunday. Congressional Republicans predicted the cuts would start as scheduled next month and blamed Obama not only for doing little to stop them but for the idea itself. The cuts, called the sequester, would drain $85 billion from the government’s budget over the coming seven months. Actual cuts may be around 13 percent for defense and 9 percent for other programs because lawmakers delayed their impact, requiring savings over a shorter period of time.