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White House blames sequester on Republicans' 'misguided priorities'

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FILE: April 26, 2013: President Obama during his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C.AP

President Obama took another swipe Monday at Congress for allowing billions of dollars worth of spending cuts to the federal government, saying the country -- as a result of “misguided priorities” -- could, as a result, lose years of scientific research.

The president has for months now attempted to blame Congress for the cuts that started in January, particularly the Republican-controlled House, which allowed the reductions instead of agreeing to a second round of 2013 tax increases to help fix the country’s fiscal problems.

“We are on the brink of amazing breakthroughs … which is why we can't afford to gut these investments in science and technology. Unfortunately, that’s what we're facing because of the across-the-board cuts,” the president told the National Academy of Science. “We could lose a year, two years of scientific research as a practical matter because of misguided priorities here in this town.”

The cuts, known as sequester, would equal about $85 billion this year and roughly $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Later on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made clear the administration holds congressional Republicans largely responsible for the cuts and the negative impact they have had on Americans.

“Congress, Republicans specifically, decided sequester was a good idea to shore up their base,” he told reporters.

Carney also said the president, by comparison, supports more “broader, balanced reductions” and suggested sequester kicked in because Republicans wouldn’t end tax breaks for “millionaires and billionaires.”

The remarks follow a major sequester showdown last week between Congress and the White House.

Congress approved a bipartisan bill that would end the furlough of air traffic controllers in the Federal Aviation Administration that resulted in long flight delays for thousands of travelers.

Republicans have claimed victory, saying they paved the way for the administration to rework the budget cuts, after officials said they were handcuffed by sequester.

The president has agreed to sign the legislation, despite calling it a “Band-Aid” fix.

Carney suggested Monday that Congress is responsible for fixing sequester since it created the situation.

"It is their responsibility to resolve these problems," he said.