"Governors do not have the luxury of waiting for solutions to present themselves," Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news conference. "There's a need for us to create jobs, to find steady employment, and a promising future for our children."
Gregoire, chair of the NGA, said states across the country are "fragile" and warned Congress that a government shutdown or cuts in spending would further undermine states' economic recovery.
"We are fragile, so anything Congress does, whether it's a shutdown or cuts that will directly impact the states, can be of considerable concern to us because we don't need a hiccup right now in our recovery," the Democrat said. "We can ill afford to have any government shutdown and cuts that will dramatically impact the states."
Over the past two years, states have cut spending by more than $75 billion, and collectively, the states face a $175 billion shortfall.
Gregoire cited job creation as the key to alleviating the economic pain felt across the nation.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, like Gregoire a Democrat, said states are "recovering, not recovered."
Nearly 50 governors, including many of the 29 first elected this fall, registered for the NGA's Winter Meeting, which kicked off in Washington, D.C., today and continues through Monday.
The governors are scheduled to attend a black-tie event at the White House Sunday night and to meet with President Obama on Monday.
Throughout the weekend, the governors will participate in closed door meetings and open sessions focusing on job creation, education, economic development, public safety and homeland security.