President Barack Obama is arguing that looming automatic spending cuts could idle military resources like aircraft carriers as he makes a trip to Virginia that's drawing criticism from Republicans.

President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining room of the White House (Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

House GOP leaders say Obama should stay in Washington to work out a plan before Friday's start of the so-called sequester, which will automatically cut $85 billion from domestic and defense budgets.

The president planned to appear Tuesday at Newport News Shipbuilding, which would be affected by cuts to naval spending.

Obama is urging Congress to compromise. But there is no indication the White House and congressional Republicans are actively negotiating a deal.

Obama wants a package of targeted cuts and tax increases, while Republican leaders say the savings should come from reduced spending alone.

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