Calling Spending Cuts Modest, Republicans Suggest They're Here to Stay Despite Pledges to Fix

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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 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.