President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining room of the White House on February 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. UPI/Dennis Brack/Pool | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama, mindful of the pending automatic spending cuts, urged the nation's governors Monday to push lawmakers to avert the sequester.
In just four days, Obama told a National Governors Association luncheon at the White House, Congress is poised to allowed arbitrary automatic budget cuts of $85 billion to kick in, and "uncertainty is already having an effect."
He urged the governors to speak to their congressional delegations while in Washington for the association's annual meeting to remind them what's at stake and that the cuts can be avoided with "just a little bit of compromise," he said.
"I know some folks in Congress think compromise is a bad term," he said. "You know that compromise is essential to getting things done."
"All of us are elected officials," he said. "All of us are concerned about our politics, both in our own party's as well as the other party's. But at some point we've got to do some governing."
He referred to programs discussed in his State of the Union, the "Fix it First" program for infrastructure repair and his call to guarantee quality preschool for all children.
The "Fix-It-First" program would employ people to work as soon as possible on the most urgent infrastructure repairs across the country.
"We know we're going to have to spend the money. And the longer we wait, the more it's going to cost," Obama said "That is a fact."
Recognizing that a hurdle to fixing infrastructure is red tape, Obama said Monday the federal government was setting up regional teams "that will focus on some of the unique needs each of you have in various parts of the country."
Concerning education, Obama said he wanted to partner with the governors "to make high quality preschool available to every child on America" and recognized governors who have made this a priority.
Obama told the governors gathered in Washington Sunday night he's looking for "good partners" to help revitalize the country.
Obama said the work the governors have done to lead their states through hard times is paying off but more work lies ahead.
"The task before us is to find smart, common-sense solutions to each of these challenges that we can move forward on," he said. "And I'm looking for good partners, because while nobody in this room sees eye to eye on everything, we know that when we work together, Democrats and Republicans, north, south, east and west, we can accomplish so much more than we can on our own. ... We're stronger when we work together as a team."