Boehner says he hopes to avert scheduled U.S. spending cuts

WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Republican U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday said he hopes to avoid $85 billion in spending cuts set to kick in within weeks, and called on President Barack Obama and Democrats to offer a plan to avoid it.

While other Republicans have said the spending cuts, called a "sequester," seems certain to begin as scheduled on March 1, Boehner told a news conference, "I would hope that it would not happen."

"Sequester is bad policy. It takes a meat axe approach to government spending. That is why the president should be forthcoming with a plan to replace sequester," the speaker said.