Republicans on Wednesday rejected President Obama's proposal to postpone $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, and politicians of both parties warned that a March 1 sequester that would slash military and domestic programs and jeopardize the nation's economic recovery is now more likely than ever.

"It's probably going to happen," Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., told The Washington Examiner on Wednesday as Democrats left the House for a two-day retreat in Leesburg.

Republicans believe they hold the leverage in the sequester stalemate because polls show the public wants to rein in government spending.

"Republicans have the upper hand, because by doing nothing, they get what they want -- real cuts," said Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak.