Time is running out: unless Congress acts by March first - $85 billion in massive spending cuts will kick in automatically. Two million federal workers face furloughs.
But one way or another the impact may be felt by most Americans.
The White House warns that 10-thousand teacher jobs would be at risk and 70-thousand children could be removed from Head Start.
The cuts would hit during tax season - meaning millions of taxpayers would have an even tougher time getting answers from the IRS.
CNN's Chris Lawrence has been looking at other areas where you may feel the sting.
One of the biggest American embassies was the target in a large al Qaeda plot. Brian Todd has the details.
To watch more of Wolf Blitzer’s interview with Admiral William McRaven, tune to “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on CNN Thursday 4-7pm ET and Saturday 6-7pm ET.
By Jamie Crawford
While it was one of 11 missions carried out by U.S. special forces that night, the head of U.S. Special Operations command said the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will go down as one of the "great intelligence operations in history."
Admiral William McRaven spoke Wednesday before an audience at the Aspen Institute Security Conference on a panel discussion moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The talk was his first interview about the raid with a journalist.
McRaven also touched on some of the other pressing issues facing the U.S. military in the discussion that ranged from serious to light-hearted.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned that should the current plan fail in Syria, the world is facing a 'worst case scenario' of intensifying civil strife.
Ambassador Susan Rice told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that that there needs to be "maximum international pressure" on Syria's president by the United Nations Security Council "including sanctions and potentially other steps."
"Should all of that fail or not be possible because it perhaps would be vetoed again, then we're into a situation which is chaotic," Rice said in the interview that aired Wednesday on Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago. Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.
By Jamie Crawford
If Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, an influential member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is looking for a country to visit as a member of a congressional delegation, he can cross Afghanistan off his list.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Rohrabacher have been at loggerheads over the congressman's push for a more decentralized Afghan government. Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the disagreement, Karzai said he is against letting Rohrabacher into the country.
"Until he changes his tongue, until he shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution ... No foreigner has a place asking another people, another country to change their constitution. Have we ever asked the United States to change its constitution?" Karzai said in an exclusive interview that aired Monday on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
Last month, Rohrabacher was asked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to travel on to Afghanistan with a congressional delegation that he was part of as it visited the region, after Karzai said the congressman was not welcome.