Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday if some federal workers lose jobs because of Republican-proposed spending cuts, "so be it." But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was quick to say "not so be it."
"Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs and if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it," Boehner said during a news conference with reporters at the Republican National Committee. "We're broke! It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money."
Boehner, who was joined by other House Republican leaders, criticized the President's budget proposal for not cutting enough and said Republicans would address entitlement reform when they release their budget blueprint this spring.
"Republicans will not punt," said Boehner. "Everything's on the table. We will put forward a budget that deals with the big challenges that face our country…I have no doubts that all of these issues [Social Security and Medicare] will be on the table."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seized on Boehner's comments in a speech on the floor, saying Republicans' proposed cuts would leave many in the cold.
"Democrats do not subscribe to Speaker Boehner's verdict that if jobs are lost in this continuing resolution, so be it," Pelosi said. "Maybe so be it for him. But not so be it for the people who are losing their jobs."
Asked at a news conference about Boehner's comments about federal workers, New Jersey Democrat Rob Andrews pounced.
"What I'd wonder – so what if it's air traffic controllers that make the skies safe? So what if it's FBI personnel working in labs that do DNA testing of suspects? So what if it's border security officers keeping people from getting into the country illegally? So what if it's USDA meat inspectors that make sure our food supply is safe? So what if it's people who test the cleanliness of our drinking water or test for radioactivity in our land?"
– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.