03/06/2013 06:28 pm ET

Sander Levin: Sequestration Damage 'At Times' Overstated By Obama Administration

Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) claimed the Obama administration has "at times" overstated the potential damage of sequestration.

“Maybe at times there’s been an overstatement,” Levin said on MSNBC Tuesday. “But the basic fact remains, sequestration is a harmful idea. It’s going to hurt in many, many respects."

"It’s going to hurt defense, it’s going to hurt economic growth, it’s going to hurt lots of basic programs for the American people," Levin said.

The congressman specifically noted the impact the cuts would have on his home state, recognizing the effects as "reality."

“NIA funding in Michigan, $30 million is going to be lost in basic research," Levin said. "In Oakland County and Livingston County they’re going to start cutting hours for teachers in Head Start. So there’s reality here.”

In a March 1 press conference, President Barack Obama called the automatic budget cuts "dumb" and "arbitrary," blaming Republicans for failing to act to stop the cuts.

A former aide told the New York Times that Obama's criticism of GOP actions over sequestration could lead to “a self-fulfilling kind of mess.”

The New York Times reported earlier:

As the nation’s top Democrat, President Obama has a clear imperative: to ratchet up pressure on Republicans for across-the-board spending cuts by using the power of his office to dramatize the impact on families, businesses and the military.

But as president, Mr. Obama is charged with minimizing the damage from the spending reductions and must steer clear of talking down the economy. A sustained campaign against the cuts by the president could become what one former aide called “a self-fulfilling kind of mess.”

As a result, Mr. Obama is carefully navigating between maximizing heat on Republicans to undo the cuts while mobilizing efforts to make sure that the steep spending cuts do not hurt Americans. His advisers acknowledge the potential political perils ahead as the president struggles to find the right kind of balance.

Obama plans to meet with a number of Republican senators Wednesday over dinner, and will also speak with GOP congressmen on Capitol Hill next week.



What Sequestration Would Cut