The Budget Control Act requires Congress to cut federal spending by $1.2 trillion to prevent automatic budget cuts, including cuts in defense spending and a wide array of domestic programs.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday, "There is a simple obstacle to resolving this, and that is the adamant refusal of Republicans in Congress to accept the simple proposition that we need to have a balanced approach to solving our fiscal challenges."
When told that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had said, as quoted by a reporter, that "we've done our bit; it's up to you guys, you're dragging your feet," Carney called the characterization "remarkable."
"So the Speaker of the House announcing that he has done his job, when in fact Congress has failed to do its job and that is why the sequester still looms out there, is a rather remarkable statement," Carney said.
Republicans in Congress, Carney said, "would rather see deep and harmful cuts in our defense spending, deep and harmful cuts in our non-defense discretionary spending, in education, in border security, in assistance to veterans, in research and development."
"They would rather see all of that than ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a little bit more to, as the President believes, return to the marginal tax rates that were in place for wealthier Americans under President Clinton when this country created more than 23 million jobs and there were many millionaires coined to boot," Carney said.