(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner says he doesn't know if the forced spending cuts that began taking effect Friday will actually have a negative impact, although he argued in a recent op-ed that the sequester would threaten "U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more."
"I don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not," he said in an interview that aired Sunday. "I don't think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work."
Boehner and President Barack Obama were among those who issued dire warnings about the $85 billion in cuts that are now supposed to take place over the next seven months, the remainder of the fiscal year. Both sides ratcheted up the rhetoric in the weeks before the sequester deadline, March 1, hoping to build pressure on the other side to compromise and reach a deal to avoid the cuts.
During his interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Boehner was asked if he had been exaggerating when talking before the deadline about the consequences of the spending cuts.
"I am concerned about its impact on our economy and its impact on our military. Listen, we've known about this problem for 16 months," he said, blaming Democrats and Obama for not acting. "And here we are at the - beyond the 11th hour, looking at each other. Without having fixed it."
When Obama held a press conference Friday at the White House, he also didn't sound as pessimistic about the impact of the cuts as he and his administration did before the deadline.
"What's important to understand is that not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. The pain, though, will be real. Beginning this week, many middle-class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways," he said.
Asked if the president had been exaggerating his claims about the sequester, Boehner pointed to the example of Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying that teachers in West Virginia were already being laid off because of the spending cuts. Duncan's claim has since been debunked.
"There's a lot of questions about how the White House is handling the communications on this," Boehner said.
I have a friend, who is a single mom and she is being furloughed one day a week without pay – and you don't know if it is going to affect the economy? You really need a realty check Mr. Boehner!
He does not even know the implications of the policy he just forced into action. Hey RED STATES you voted for these people.
Yes it will. Like Republicans will care. They only care about tax cuts.
Funny, real funny. All of this turbulence in the water, sharks circling the common mans life raft, but not one wage cut or benefit drag back for our elected elite. Kinda smells. Don't it. The budget get's balanced, but only on the backs of the workers. They'll hold us accountable for their mismanagement, or know the reason why.
if you measure the health of the economy by how much the govt. spends ie: GDP then it will affect the economy.
However in the real world not spending an additional $85bn more than last year can only be a good thing.
This whole sequester is just political BS.
"I don't think anyone quite understands how the '98% of everything we wanted' thing is really going to work."
If that's not reason enough to vote against the GOP, I don't know what is.
Of course they will hurt they economy, they wrote them to do just that. The Republicans are crashing the economy again!
The administration can be selective in the areas that could be hurt by sequester. If they select the areas that hurt the nation out of revenge against the GOP, then we know the true design of the Obama regime.
For every dollar take out of the economy it cut six dollar off economic activilty.from hard working American.
He can't LEAD 435 people, yet he criticizes the president for not leading the entire republican party that has been fighting and filibustering his every move for 4 years.
Worst Speaker in History!!!
Mr. B don't know whether cuts are going to hurt the economy or not but they have been pushing America to the edge just to make the first BLACK POTUS looks really bad. As Mr. MITCH said there is only one goal in mind for the GREEDY OLD PARTY to keep POTUS the powerless President in the history of US. We need these lunatics out of our political system. Wake up America. Are we keep on voting for this NO PARTY in its war against minorities, children, women, voting rights, guy community whose only purpose is to destroy America as a society and turn it into a feudal system where a few will enslave the majority just to make more bucks and gain more votes. AMERICA IS SICK but only its people can save it from this bunch of hateful people.
the republican speaker of the house is UNSURE now there,s leader ship -but iam UNSURE
Well I guess we will find that out now! This shortsighted plan was the idea of our fearless leader Barack Obama! The man who did not do his job and lead us away from this mess he created! He has had more than a year to avoid this! Don 't blame the GOP for standing their ground many citizens agree with them I do. Boenher is doing his job and at least he admits he doesn't know what is gonna happen.
I confess, I'm clueless. He took step one.