President Barack Obama blamed Republicans' refusal to close "wasteful" tax loopholes for the automatic budget cuts going into effect Friday, saying he can't do a "Jedi mind meld" to persuade them to do the right thing.
"We will get through this," Obama told reporters after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House. "This is not going to be an apocalypse I think, as some people said. It's just dumb. It's going to hurt. ... But if Congress comes to its senses, then there's a lot of open running room to grow our economy fairly quickly."
The White House meeting yielded no immediate results.
Obama said the nation shouldn't be making "dumb and arbitrary" cuts, and that Republicans have allowed the cuts to happen. He said he still believes the cuts can be replaced, but he wants a deal that includes more taxes.
Earlier, House Speaker John Boehner said he resisted Obama's call for increased taxes as a way to close the nation's hemorrhaging debt. "The president got his tax hikes on January first," Boehner said after the White House meeting. "This discussion about revenue in my view is over. It's about taking on the spending problem in Washington."
Boehner said he laid out a plan for the House to move a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past March 27. "And I'm hopeful that we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time," he said.
At his news conference, Obama said: "I think it's the right thing to do to avoid a government shutdown."