White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that the White House didn’t mislead the public about the dangers of the sequester as he was questioned on the issue by Ed Henry of Fox News.
Henry pressed Carney on the administration’s warnings about thousands of border patrol furloughs in February, which have now been postponed.
“It’s a moving picture,” Carney said of the sequester cuts, as agencies adjust. “That can be on the plus side where furloughs may take place a little later, or on the minus side where things may be more immediate.”
Carney got testy.
“Feel free to convey to your readers and viewers that the sequester doesn’t matter,” he shot back at Henry.
But Henry asked Carney whether the administration warning of furloughs that haven’t happened meant the administration had misled the public.
“Absolutely not,” Carney said. He added that the effects of the sequester will not all be immediate.
“As time progresses and, you know, savings are made by eliminating a contract, for example, or you know, ending new purchases of equipment for a period of time, or you know, other things can be done, changes about the prognosis for furloughs can be made,” Carney said. But he said it was not uniform and will fluctuate from month to month as agencies adjust.
He also warned that the effects are real.
“I know that there hasn’t been a lot of coverage of the impacts of real people, on the families who had to be engaged in lotteries to see whether their child, on a Friday, was still going to be in Head Start on Monday. You know, tell them it doesn’t matter,” Carney said.