Denis McDonough tells ABC's "This Week" that the economy has been getting stronger over the past few months. He cites improvements in housing, the stock market and consumer confidence.
He says the cuts will affect education, mental health services and food safety.
McDonough tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that Obama "is doing everything he can to not let this happen."
He says the White House will push for what he calls a reasonable amount of spending cuts coupled with additional tax revenue.
Republicans oppose any tax increases, but the White House will insist on cutting federal red ink "in a balanced way."