POLITICS

John Boehner On Sequester: 'I Don't Know Whether It's Going To Hurt The Economy'

Mar 03, 2013 | Updated Mar 03, 2013

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner isn't sure whether the sequester will damage America's economy.

"I don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not," he told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "I don't think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work."

Last month, Boehner wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that began by saying the sequester "threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more." But asked to defend the column on Sunday, the Ohio Republican demurred, saying simply that he's "concerned about its impact on our economy and its impact on our military." Then he turned to placing the blame for any such damage on Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration has warned of dire consequences to national security and government services as the spending cuts mandated by the sequester roll out this year. On Sunday, White House economic adviser Gene Sperling predicted that after the "pain spreads" from sequestration, Republicans will be more willing to compromise.

"My belief is that as this pain starts to gradually spread to communities affected by military spending, to children who need mental health services, to people who care about our border security, I believe that more Republican colleagues who are concerned about this harm to their constituents will choose bipartisan compromise on revenue-raising tax reform with serious entitlement reform," Sperling said on ABC's "This Week."

"They'll choose this bipartisan compromise over what is an ideological position that every single penny of deficit reduction going forward must be on the middle class or seniors or our children and that there can't be one penny that comes from closing loopholes or tax expenditures. That is not a position that the public supports. It's not the kind of bipartisan compromise we need to move our country forward," said Sperling.

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