By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama sought to recruit the nation's governors Monday in his sequestration battle with Congress, telling them that $85 billion in automatic budget cuts will cripple economic progress in their states.
Set to start Friday, the sequestration cuts will lead to fewer teachers, reduced medical care, and idle defense workers in all 50 states, Obama told members of the National Governors Association at the White House.
"The longer those cuts are in place, the bigger their impact will be," Obama said.
The president urged the state executives -- particularly the Republicans -- to lobby members of Congress to avoid the sequestration with a new dealto help reduce the national debt of more than $16 trillion.
Obama wants a debt reduction deal that includes both budget cuts and higher taxes on the wealthy, in the form or closing loopholes and deductions.
Republicans oppose any tax increase, saying Obama got higher tax rates on the wealthy as part of last month's "fiscal cliff" deal.
Beyond the sequester, Obama told the governors he wants to be their "partner" on two major legislative items, infrastructure and education.
Repairing and expanding the nation's system of roads, bridges, tunnels, railways and airports should be a bi-partisan endeavor, Obama said.
As for education, Obama said he wants states to help him achieve his goal of preschool for all of America's children.