President Barack Obama heaped blame on Republicans on Friday for the failure to break a deadlock in efforts to avert looming automatic spending cuts and warned that a "ripple effect" would start hurting the middle class and the overall U.S. economy.

Obama, following a White House meeting with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders, said he would keep on reaching out to a "caucus of common sense" among lawmakers on Capitol Hill and is looking for a compromise in coming days and weeks once the cuts take effect later on Friday.