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Calling spending cuts modest, Republicans suggest they're here to stay despite pledges to fix

Sunday - 3/3/2013, 3:20pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The $85 billion in federal spending cuts that began kicking in Friday are here to stay if you believe the latest public statements from Washington.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell calls the cuts modest, while House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) says he's not sure they will really hurt the economy. And the White House's top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, says the pain isn't that bad, at least right now.

McConnell says the 2.4 percent cut in spending "is a little more than the average American experienced just two months ago" when the payroll tax holiday expired.

But Sperling cautions: "On Day One, it will not be as harmful as it will be over time."

Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for the cuts, while both pledging to undo them. But no one is offering a specific proposal for rolling back the cuts.

Taxes are the dividing line. Republicans insist there will be no new taxes and Democrats refuse to talk about any bargain without increased revenue.

McConnell spoke to CNN's "State of the Union." Boehner was interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press." Sperling appeared on ABC's "This Week," NBC and CNN.

%@AP Links

126-w-39-(Tim Maguire, AP correspondent, with Gene Sperling, White House Economic Adviser and House Speaker John Boehner R-Ohio)--Both President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner remain at odds over reaching a deal to cut the federal deficit and end the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts. AP correspondent Tim Maguire reports. (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:39

107-a-13-(Gene Sperling, White House economic adviser, in interview)-"dollar in revenue"-White House economic adviser Gene Sperling says President Obama's plan to avoid automatic spending cuts was fair, despite Republicans having rejected it two months ago. COURTESY: NBC's 'Meet the Press' ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:13 "dollar in revenue"

109-a-12-(Gene Sperling, White House economic adviser, in interview)-"on the table"-White House economic adviser Gene Sperling says President Obama embraces a mix of new revenues and spending cuts to reduce the deficit. COURTESY: NBC's 'Meet the Press' ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:12 "on the table"

108-a-15-(Gene Sperling, White House economic adviser, in interview)-"a starting point"-White House economic adviser Gene Sperling says House Speaker John Boehner has backed out of his offer of $1 trillion in new tax revenues as part of a compromise with the White House to avoid automatic budget cuts. COURTESY: NBC's 'Meet the Press' ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:15 "a starting point"

106-a-11-(House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in interview)-"the President demanded"-House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans have compromised on raising taxes but President Obama does not support sufficient entitlement spending reform. COURTESY: NBC's 'Meet the Press' ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:11 "the President demanded"

105-a-09-(House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in interview)-"does he want?"-House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans are not in favor of raising taxes again. COURTESY: NBC's 'Meet the Press' ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:09 "does he want?"

128-a-14-(Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in interview)-"to each other"-GOP Senator Lindsey Graham says both parties simply have to compromise or no deal to reduce the deficit will happen. COURTESY: CBS "Face the Nation" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:14 "to each other"

130-a-11-(Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in interview)-"a bipartisan vote"-Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says House Republicans' refusal to compromise brought on the automatic budget cuts. COURTESY: CBS "Face the Nation" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:11 "a bipartisan vote"

127-a-15-(Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in interview)-"time entitlement reform"-GOP Senator Lindsey Graham says Republicans should be willing to agree to closing tax loopholes in exchange for entitlement spending reforms. COURTESY: CBS "Face the Nation" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:15 "time entitlement reform"

129-a-07-(Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in interview)-"in right now"-Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says everything should be on the table when talking about a long-term deficit reduction deal, not just spending reductions. COURTESY: CBS "Face the Nation" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Mar 2013)

<> 00:07 "in right now"


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