U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan and other members of Ohio's Democrat delegation have asked the state's Republican governor to use his sway with GOP members in the U.S. House to get them to negotiate a way to avoid automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester.
Ryan and U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge of Cleveland and Joyce Beatty of Columbus in a letter to John Kasich on Thursday ask the governor to ''leverage'' his ''close personal relationship'' with Republican House Speaker John Boehner and other Ohio Republicans to ''encourage them to support a balanced plan that includes both spending reduction and new revenues.''
''In an effort to do everything we can to seek compromise, we are seeking your help to encourage Ohio's Congressional Republican Delegation to come back to the negotiating table to support a common sense, bipartisan solution to avoid the devastation which the sequester would do to Ohio,'' the letter says.
Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have deadlocked on ways to avoid the across-the-board cuts and have started to play the blame game, pointing the finger at each for the resulting gridlock.
The $85 billion in budget cuts between defense and non-defense program are set to take effect today, also when President Barack Obama is planning to meet with congressional leaders.
The immediate impact of the reductions on the public was uncertain, and the administration pulled back on its earlier warnings of long lines developing quickly at airports and teacher layoffs affecting classrooms.
Democrats said in Thursday's letter that if the sides in Washington ''fail to cooperate,'' Ohio's economy will be harmed and the hurt would be felt by teachers, victims of domestic violence, job search assistance programs and military readiness.
Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols responded in an email by saying ''what's unclear is if this is such a bad idea now, why did the White House say it was such a good idea back then? The governor led the effort to balance the budget in 1997, which took 10 years to pull off.''
''We're flattered they think he can fix their mistake in just a few hours. Maybe a better use of their time would be negotiating a solution instead of writing letters that try to blame others for their mistakes,'' Nichols said.