House GOP lawmakers say they do not fear political blowback if Congress fails to prevent $85 billion in automatic spending cuts from triggering in two weeks.

The cuts known as the sequester are almost certain to hit the Pentagon and non-defense discretionary spending on March 1, and congressional Republicans and the White House are focused more now on avoiding blame for the cuts than preventing them.

That creates a challenging environment for House Republicans, given President Obama’s use of the bully pulpit, which he used to build pressure on them during last year’s fight over the “fiscal cliff.”

Already the White House warns that the cuts will reduce loan guarantees to small businesses, end Head Start funding for 70,000 children and leave 373,000 seriously mentally ill people without treatment.

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