Asked whether it appeared inevitable that the cuts would materialize, press secretary Jay Carney said: “We obviously are discouraged by the line that Republican leaders have taken, which is the book is closed on revenue. … We remain hopeful and we will continue to engage with Congress.”
LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, denied that he was simply describing a worst-case scenario that would scare the public and put pressure on Republican lawmakers. He said the effect of the cuts will begin to be felt around the beginning of April.
“What I’m trying to do is wake up members of the Congress with the idea that they need to come to the table so we don’t have to have this kind of calamity in air services in America,” he said.
LaHood said the main reason the White House had asked him to appear before White House-based reporters was because he is a Republican making the case for Obama with Republican lawmakers.