NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie pressed Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s senior adviser, over the president’s stated willingness to negotiate with Congressional Republicans on a deal that would avoid sequestration spending cuts.

“When is the last time the president sat down with Congressional leaders to try to work out some kind of compromise to avoid this?” Guthrie asked on Tuesday morning’s “Today Show.”

“As you saw at the end of the last year, we made a great deal of progress,” Jarrett said. “We were so close, Savannah. The president and Speaker Boehner were just moments apart in reaching a deal and  unfortunately, Republicans were unwilling to do the deal we proposed.”

“Have there been any recent meetings along those lines?” Guthrie pressed.

“Well, there haven’t,” Jarrett admitted.  “We had the issue at the end of last year, and over the last few weeks we’ve been preparing and gearing up. The president has made it clear numerous times that he welcomes the opportunity to sit down with the Republicans in Congress and work out a deal; he has proposed a range of options for how we could get our fiscal house in order. He’s looking for a big deal, but if we can’t get a big deal, let’s at least come to terms on a smaller deal that avoids the sequestration from kicking in.”