McKeon: 'Stunned by the president's silence' on defense cuts in sequester fact sheet

The fact sheet details how the $85 billion in cuts slated to take affect in three weeks would hamper law enforcement, hurt federal education programs, withhold mental health services and furlough thousands of workers.

But McKeon maintains the White House was wrong to focus exclusively on cuts to non-defense programs.

"There was not one mention of the military, which is half of sequester's cuts, in the White House's fact sheet," McKeon said. "I don't know which is worse, the deafening silence from the White House or the tone-deafness about sequester's impact on national security."

Werfel did stress to reporters that cuts to defense programs "would be severe and must not be allowed to occur" in his briefing with reporters.

"As Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey have both said on numerous occasions, sequestration would create a serious crisis in military readiness and pose the risk of creating a hollow force by undercutting the essential services, equipment, and support our Armed Forces rely on," Werfel said.

President Obama also mentioned the potential cuts to defense spending in remarks Friday afternoon at a farewell tribute to outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Pannetta.

"Here today, for the sake of our prosperity, for the sake of all these men and women in uniform, and all their brothers and sisters in uniform that they represent, now is the time to act — for Democrats and Republicans to come together in the same spirit that Leon Panetta always brought to public service — solving problems, not trying to score points," Obama said after acknowledging the looming sequester. "Doing right for the country, not for any particular political agenda.  Sustaining our economic recovery, balancing budgets — Leon knows something about it — but also maintaining the finest military in history."