Republican governors Monday were critical of both parties for the sequester crisis, and blasted President Barack Obama for not wanting more power to move money around.
They routinely make tough choices about spending, the governors argued, so why can't Washington?
The Republicans spoke to the media after chief executives from around the country, from both parties, met with Obama at the White House. The governors are in Washington for the National Governos Association winter meeting.
The Republicans said they asked Obama about flexibility and other spending reduction initiatives, but "the answers to everything we got was no," said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
"I cannot be more frustrated than I am right now," she said after the meeting. "My kids could find $83 billion out of a $4 trillion budget."
Obama, said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is not doing his job. "It is the president's job as chief executive to instruct his Cabinet to find ways to make these cuts."
Obama, he said "didn't want that," referring to flexibility to move money around. "As a leader," Jindal said, "he should want as much flexibility as he can get from Congress."
The automatic spending cuts that take effect Friday, he said, "is not a surprise. When did he ever go to his cabinet secretaries, his agency heads and say, 'What would be the least painful…way' We've all done that."
"The president doesn't want to have this debate," said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.