Obama to governors: Sequester cuts 'don't have to happen'

"Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little compromise," Obama said.

The White House has urged Congress to offset the $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts with a package that equally combines future cuts and new revenues raised by closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

But Republicans have insisted they will not agree to any deal that includes a tax increase, noting rates increased last month as part of the "fiscal cliff" deal.

With a deal seeming increasingly unlikely, the Obama administration is making a last-ditch effort to pressure Republicans to buckle. On Sunday, the White House released a report detailing the state-by-state impact of the sequestration cuts, highlighting potential furloughs, canceled projects and expected layoffs.

On Tuesday, Obama will hold a rally in Newport News, Va. — where the economy is heavily dependent on the defense industry — as he hopes to gain political leverage.

For more on Obama's remarks, click here.