Earlier this week, President Obama spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and a small bi-partisan group of mayors on the progress towards finding a solution that both lets our nation keep its obligations and finds a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The President explained why getting our nation’s fiscal house in order must be a top priority, and highlighted how we have a unique opportunity to find a solution that not only raises the debt ceiling so we can pay our nation’s bills, but also takes our fiscal challenges head on by significantly reducing our deficits. The President understands that just like families across the nation, mayors in every state struggle everyday to make the tough choices necessary to keep their local economies going. He believes that leaders in Washington need to make the same kinds of tough choices and come together to find common ground and show the American people that we can do big things as a nation.
Mayors across the country share what they think:
Our government needs to do what families across America have done since this recession began – solve its financial problems and start living within its means. As a nation, it is imperative that we get our finances under control, reduce our deficit, and work to fix the country’s long-term financial problems. Playing politics with the full faith and credit of the United States of America is simply not an option.
While Congress engages in a destructive game of 'chicken' - playing politics with the debt limit and our economic future - too many Americans are still struggling financially and looking for work. The only 'debt limit' someone without a job cares about is their own personal debt limit that they reached a long time ago. The only ceiling they care about is the one they're trying to keep above their family's heads.
I understand that both parties in Washington have different plans for how to reduce our debt - and I hope they can come to an agreement soon - but that debate should not be tied to the debt ceiling. America's good name and credit are just too important to be held hostage to Washington gridlock, and I hope that in the end cooler heads will prevail and an agreement will be reached quickly.
We need to get this issue resolved soon. The uncertainty in Washington is stifling investment on Main Street. Mayors want to get on with the work of fixing the economy and creating jobs, and we are willing to help however we can.
Everyone must share in the sacrifice and commit to leaving within our means. We must have a balanced approach of reducing our spending and finding sources of revenue. If our leaders fail to act, it will only add to the cynicism people already have about the partisan politics in Washington.
In the midst of a fragile economy still struggling to emerge from recession, now is no time for the federal government to default on its obligations to America's urban communities. The mayors of America's big cities have not had the luxury of avoiding hard choices. We have had to make layoffs, cut services, and postpone capital projects. The uncertainty surrounding the current status of the debt limit negotiations casts a chilling effect over the private sector investment that our cities' critically need right now. An ambitious, comprehensive package of fiscal reform that lifts the debt ceiling and allows us to move forward is the best possible outcome for our national economy and our nation's great cities.
Read more about the President’s efforts to find a balanced approach to reduce the deficit.