"Every time that we get a piece of economic news over the next month, next two months, next six months, as long as the sequester is in place, we'll know that that economic news could have been better," he said then.
The two sides remain ideologically opposed on how to reduce the nation's chronic federal deficits and debt.
Republicans seek to shrink the size of government to lower costs, while Democrats argue some new tax revenue is necessary to maintain the social safety net that protects the elderly, disabled and impoverished.
Polls show the public is about as politically divided as its leaders. While most Americans support a deficit reduction plan that includes spending cuts and increased revenue, as well as entitlement reforms, there is little agreement on the formula for such a package.
In addition, a Pew Research Center poll last week showed that a majority of respondents opposed cuts to 18 of 19 specific areas, sending the message that people don't want deficit reduction to hurt them personally.
"The American people want the federal government to reduce spending without touching actual programs," wrote William Galston a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, in a blog post last week. "Is it any wonder that long-term budget cuts have stalled and that even short-term fiscal issues tie Congress up in knots?"
Part of the blame rests with political leaders in Congress and the White House failing to level with the American public about what it will take to "wrestle the federal budget back on a sustainable trajectory for the long term," Galston wrote.
"It's hard to avoid the conclusion that most of today's politicians regard the people with a mixture of fear and contempt: They can't stand the truth, and they'll punish any elected official who utters it," he continued. "When politicians come to believe this, or act as though they do, effective democratic self-government becomes impossible, and temporizing and pandering fill the vacuum the absence of serious governance creates."
Such a vacuum exists now, judging by the repeated brinksmanship over tax and spending issues in recent years that caused a downgrade in the U.S. credit rating and threatened economic recovery.
A series of showdowns has occurred since a conservative wave helped Republicans regain control of the House in the 2010 mid-term elections. Every deadline -- for funding the government, raising the nation's borrowing limit or addressing expiring taxes or tax cuts -- led to protracted wrangling and last-minute agreements.
One of those past agreements -- to increase the debt ceiling in 2011-- included the mandatory spending cuts that cut across all agencies of government but not entitlement programs.
The cuts were intended to be so unpopular that both sides would be motivated to negotiate a broader deficit reduction package rather than let them get implemented. However, the charged political environment of an election year in 2012 prevented such an agreement.
The cuts amount to roughly 9% for a broad range of non-defense programs and 13% for the Pentagon over the remaining seven months of fiscal year 2013.
While both sides oppose the across-the-board nature of the cuts, with no leeway for shifting funds to protect specific targeted programs, conservatives argue the total amount is a manageable slice in federal spending while Democrats say it will cause unnecessary harm.
Obama and Democrats insist that any possible agreement to replace the cuts with alternative deficit reduction should include more tax revenue from closing loopholes and subsidies that benefit wealthy industries and individuals.
Boehner and Republicans reject any kind of tax or revenue increase, noting they already agreed to Obama's push to return rates on top income earners to higher levels of the 1990s.
According to GOP leaders, the president and Democrats have yet to propose a serious plan to reduce spending, including costly entitlement programs, on a scale necessary to bring chronic federal deficits and debt under control.
Obama campaigned on increasing the tax burden on the wealthy in winning re-election last year, and he and Democrats contend the vote result showed public support for their position. However, the president's second term has so far included the same kind of congressional dysfunction that dominated his first four years.
In recent weeks, Republicans refused to budge on spending cuts and delayed full Senate consideration of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary before he was eventually confirmed. New political wrangling is also expected over the Obama's nominee to head the CIA.