(CBS News) With just three days before sweeping, automatic spending cuts are enacted, a new research poll shows more than six out of ten Americans think the cuts will have a negative effect on the economy. Nearly half of those surveyed say they will blame Republicans if the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts, known in Washington as the sequester, takes effect Friday.
The White House has stepped up its campaign to pressure Republicans, enlisting Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, to suggest that the cuts could hurt U.S. efforts to thwart terrorist attacks.
"I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester," Napolitano said Monday.
House Speaker John Boehner stood firmly in support of Republican refusal to consider tax increases and called on the president to "cut spending here in Washington." For their part, skeptical Republican governors accused the president of exaggerating the impact of the cuts.
"The reality is he's been engaged in almost nonstop campaigning, trying to scare the American people," Republican governor Bobby Jindal said Monday. "For them to suggest that this will result that this will result in the hollowing out of the military, interruptions of food inspections and it will result in folks not getting critical healthcare services, is again, preposterous."
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, insisted that Republicans are "very concerned about the impact of the sequester," but defended House Republicans Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."
"The Republicans, almost 300 days ago, put forward our place to replace these cuts with smarter reforms, smarter cuts," she said before adding, "What we need is for the president to get off the campaign trail, [and to] quit talking about cutting taxes."
And while McMorris Rodgers stopped short of detailing the anticipated effects of the cuts -- saying only "we won't know that answer until March 1" -- she joined the chorus of Republicans asserting that president Obama should return to Washington and take the lead in preventing sequester.