Sperling: Sequester Originated in Congress

Sunday, 03 Mar 2013 11:19 AM

By Amy Woods

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National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling on Sunday defended President Barack Obama for saying publicly the sequestration was not the White House’s idea, and further said the forced spending cuts now going into effect are “going to hurt a lot of people.”

Sperling, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said independent economists are predicting 750,000 jobs will be lost during the sequestration unless a compromise is reached.

“I talk to CEOs every day who tell me they have job-creating projects on hold because of this sequestration and its uncertainty,” he said. “It is a slow grind but make no mistake about it. You can’t cut $42 billion from defense in seven months and not hurt jobs, veterans…. You’re going to hurt a lot of people.”

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Sperling said the idea of sequestration originated in Congress. He said the harsh budget reductions never were supposed to become reality.

“The idea was not that these would go in to effect, but that people of good faith would come back and compromise,” he said. “Republicans aren’t getting a win by letting the sequester go into effect.”

He said to host David Gregory, “You and I both know that the real answer to eliminating this harmful sequester for the next 10 years is exactly the type of balanced agreement that the president has called for, has still kept on the table and that the Speaker [John] Boehner was willing to consider just months ago — just weeks ago."

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