Little progress seen as sequester deadline nears

(CBS News) The White House announced Thursday that the president had phoned Republican Congressional leader Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to talk about the impending sequester, due to take effect next week.


Many Republicans called the move a PR stunt and the two Republicans leaders pointed out that this was the first time the president had reached out to them in two months, since the end of his first term.

Thursday, on a radio show, President Obama accused Republicans of digging in for the wrong reasons while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Obama was raising false alarms in the debate over the budget cuts.

"President Obama has said that unless he gets a second tax hike he will be forced to let criminals loose on the streets, the meat at your grocery store won't be inspected and emergency responders will be unable to do their jobs. These are false choices," Cantor said in a statement.

CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett noted that the president did not call Democratic leaders and said he "made the calls because the White House understands that if it makes a continued public appeal to increase pressure on Republicans, it can't not talk to those Republicans it's trying pressurize.

Garrett added, "These were perfunctory calls. They didn't kick start, or jump start, or in any way start negotiations. They were a part of the play that the White House knows the president [has] to go through."

For their part, Garrett explained that Republicans continue to demand that Senate Democrats act and put forward a budget.

"House Republicans in the previous Congress -- which means it has no validity now -- did pass two alternatives to avoid these sequestration cuts. They'd like to see the Senate Democrats come up with something. Until that happens, the House Republicans aren't going to budge," he said.

For more from Garrett on the budget battle, watch the video above.