In one of his several appearances on the Sunday talk show circuit, White House budget director Jack Lew expressed how issuing austerity measures would not be a good idea for the U.S. economy.

Lew was asked by Meet The Press host David Gregory if massive government cuts similar to those seen in Greece were required because of the deficit.

"There's pretty broad agreement that time for austerity is not today," Lew said. "We need to be on a path we're over the next several years we bring our deficit over control. Right now, we have a recovery that's taking root, and if we were to put in austerity measures right now, it would take the economy in a wrong way."

"Just to understand you, cutting the budget should not be the number one priority when you got a slow economy recovery?" Gregory asked.

"I think that for the next short period of time, our number one priority is Congress needs to do its work and extend the payroll tax cut," Lew replied. "They have two weeks to do the important business so that they don't get in the way of our economic recovery."

Lew added: "Congress should take seriously long term deficit reduction. The president takes seriously long term deficit reduction. That's why he's putting out a plan that has long term deficit reduction. I hope we can get to work on that this year. But it's not because it should take effect right now."

WATCH: Video from NBC, which was broadcast on February 12, 2012.

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