The White House is promoting a $1.8 trillion package of spending cuts and tax hikes as the best approach to replace deep reductions in domestic and defense spending set to begin next week — even as Republicans dismiss the proposal as not serious.

With barely more than a week until the deep cuts, known as the sequester, take effect, President Obama and his advisers this week maintained that a deficit reduction plan he put on the table in December amid negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” should still be considered by Congress as a way to avoid another fiscal crisis. Obama spoke with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday, but no progress was reported.