President Obama on Friday appeared resigned to the fact that sequester will go into effect and emphasized that, even as the dramatic spending cuts won't be instantaneous or disastrous, the country will pay a price.
"Not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. The pain, though, will be real," Obama said at a White House press conference. He added later: "I don't anticipate a huge financial crisis, but people are going to be hurt."
The president said he would continue to push for a sequester replacement but also suggested that the country faces a future under those spending cuts. "We will get through this as well, even with these cuts in place," he said.
Obama repeated the Congressional Budget Office's estimate that the sequester could cost the country 750,000 jobs and could slow growth. Each time the country gets economic news, he said, "that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act."
Republicans have suggested that the White House is over-selling the negative effects of the sequester.
Obama also responded to GOP allegations that he has failed to lead. One reporter suggested that Obama could lock congressional leaders in a room until they come to a deal.
"I am not a dictator; I'm the president," Obama said. "I can't have Secret Service block the doorway."
On Thursday, the Senate failed to pass either a Republican or a Democratic sequester replacement bill, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that he would not broker a "last-minute, back-room deal" to avert the cuts.