Lawmakers on the Republican-controlled House committee have expressed increasing concern about the looming cuts. The Pentagon has said it is not planning how to implement the reductions because it has not been directed to do so by the White House budget office.
Representative Randy Forbes, a Republican, faulted President Barack Obama, saying the Democrat had failed to put forward a solution to the deadlock that had a realistic chance of winning bipartisan support.
“Do you think it was responsible for the president to sign that measure (sequestration) into law” without having a viable alternative plan? he asked Zients.
“What is holding us up right now is the Republican refusal to have the top 2 percent (of wealthiest Americans) pay their fair share” of taxes, Zients shot back.
“No amount of planning will mitigate the damaging effects of sequestration. Sequestration is a blunt indiscriminate instrument designed to force action, to force Congress to act,” he told the panel.