Washington (CNN) - By now everyone knows the forced federal spending cuts trigger March 1 - a week from Friday - and will strip $85 billion from federal agencies over the next seven months.
But when exactly do they kick in?
It turns out President Barack Obama gets to decide - but must issue an order to begin sequestration, as the cuts are known in Washington, by 11:59 p.m. on March 1, according to an official with the Office of Management and Budget.
As that happens, the OMB would send a report to Congress as required under the law "detailing the reductions in each budgetary account," the official said.
The Obama administration has previously said defense budget accounts would feel the most heat with cuts of about 13%. Non-defense spending would be cut by about 9%, they said, while some entitlement spending for programs including Medicare and Social Security are sheltered from the cuts.
The president called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - the top two Republicans on Capitol Hill - and talked about the forced budget cuts, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.
Two polls released Thursday showed more Americans want the cuts delayed than to take effect. A Pew and USA Today poll found 49% said the cuts should be paused while a Bloomberg poll put that number at 54%. Four in ten wanted the cuts to take effect, each poll found.
The Pew poll also showed more Americans would put the blame for the cuts on Republicans than on Obama.