Local governments urge Washington to settle debt debate
Local government officials are pressing leaders in Washington to reach an agreement on raising the nation’s debt ceiling. The price of failing to do so could be further economic hardship, according to statements from the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National League of Cities (NLC).
As of Monday, President Obama and Republican leaders in Congress were still at loggerheads over raising the nation’s $14.29 trillion debt ceiling to allow it to pay the government’s bills. If the ceiling is not raised, the United States government could default on some of that debt, an unprecedented situation.
On Friday, USCM President and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released a statement urging Republican House Speaker John Boehner to return to negotiations with President Obama on the debt ceiling. “The House leadership needs to understand they are gambling with people’s lives,” Villaraigosa said. “Unemployment is already in double digits across 75 metro areas and 13.3 percent among veterans. Our economy is struggling to rebuild from the recession and the mountain of debt this Congress and its predecessors have spent. Inaction will exacerbate these problems. The threat of inaction is political malpractice.” Villaraigosa went on to urge House leadership to “put their 2012 campaigns on hold for the good of the American people.”
NLC also cited the ongoing recession in its appeal. “At a time when the consequences of the deep recession continue to play out in our communities with too many residents unable to find a job, too many small businesses unable to access the credit they need to hire workers and serve their neighborhoods, and too many families struggling to hold on to their homes and to make ends meet, what America needs from Washington is action, not more gridlock,” NLC said in its statement. “As critical deadlines near, we urge our leaders in Washington to set aside the partisanship and take action to meet our commitments, get our fiscal house in order, and invest in our future.”