"We fiddle while the sequester threatens to burn our economy, jobs and confidence. And we do nothing."

Hoyer was referring to House GOP plans to spend Thursday and Friday on H.R. 273, which would override President Obama's proposed 0.5 percent pay hike for Congress and federal workers. GOP leaders are planning to approve just the rule for that bill today and hold a final vote on it Friday.

Hoyer repeated his charge that the 113th Congress is proving to be as ineffective as the 112th.

"Other than completing the work of making sure the folks who were damaged by Sandy were assisted, which should have been done in the last Congress, we've done nothing here of real substance in seven weeks," he said. "I want every American to know, I want every person who relies on the federal government, and that is mainly all of us, that if Democrats were in charge of this House, the sequester would not go into effect."

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) has said the House will let the Senate pass its own proposal for dealing with the sequester first. It is part of the GOP's new strategy of trying to drag Democrats into the debate over defining specific spending cuts after the House passed its own sequester replacement bills in the last Congress that stalled in the Senate.

Senate Democratic leaders were expected to propose a sequester replacement bill Thursday, but the Senate seems unlikely to pass that bill this week. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be out next week.

Hoyer argued that GOP leaders should not be content with letting the Senate handle the issue. But he also noted that more and more Republicans seem to be fine with the sequester at this point.

"I have a list of Republicans here, all of whom say, bring it on, the sequester's OK," he said as he waved the list in the air. "I urge the majority leader, I urge the Speaker, to bring forth substantive legislation that is balanced which will avoid the sequester taking place."