Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett admitted Tuesday that President Obama has not spoken to Republican leaders on the imminent sequester recently, set to slash $1.2 trillion in government spending, including massive cuts to the defense budget:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: When is the last time the president sat down with Congressional leaders to try to work out some kind of compromise to avoid this?
JARRETT: Well as you saw at the end of the last year, we made a great deal of progress. We were so close, Savannah. The president and Speaker Boehner were really just moments apart in reaching a deal and unfortunately, Republicans were unwilling to do the deal we proposed. The president proposed a balanced approached, one that includes both spending cuts as well as rate increases and that's the way we have to get ourselves to a healthy budget.
GUTHRIE: Have there been any recent meetings along those lines?
JARRETT: Well, there haven’t. We had the issue at the end of last year, and over the last few weeks we’ve been preparing and gearing up.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Tuesday he is no longer "hopeful" the sequester can be avoided, as the Pentagon makes plans to scale back.
Full interview with Jarrett: