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State and Local Officials Join the Call for Compromise

Governors, mayors and other state elected officials are joining the chorus urging Congress to compromise on behalf of the American people and to remove the cloud of uncertainty that currently hangs over our economy

We’ve seen switchboards and websites overwhelmed by Americans urging members of Congress to compromise on the debt ceiling, and this morning, the President urged the American people to keep the pressure on, because the price of partisan divergence and defaulting for the first time in our nation’s history is much too high.

Governors, mayors and other state elected officials are joining the growing chorus urging Congress to compromise on behalf of the American people and to remove the cloud of uncertainty that currently hangs over our economy.  Democrats and Republicans agree on the problem, and the scope of the solution, and now our state and local leaders are urging Congress to do their job before August 2.           

Here is a sampling of what state and local officials are saying in letters to their congressional delegations, op-eds, and statements in support of compromise:

Scott Smith, Mayor of Mesa, AZ:

"We've settled into a normalcy and we've worked to get through this crisis… And we're really a little bit tired that you guys at Washington and the state capitols can't get over the politics, and that the decisions or non-decisions that you make have a direct impact on our citizens… That's not good. It's bad."  [East Valley Tribune, 7/27/2011]

John Lewis, Mayor of Gilbert, AZ:

"It's really hard to know exactly what it would mean because we've never gone through this before… The short answer is that we don't see anything changing right away, but over time, it's something that could cause chaos." [East Valley Tribune, 7/27/2011]

 Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, AZ:

“Our City has faced a microcosm of the challenges before you in Washington, from economic stresses to political friction, international border issues to sustainability concerns. If we can do it, simply put, so can you…  Please remember the purpose that brought you to Washington – your service to people in cities like Phoenix – and please continue to strive for an immediate solution that holds the very best interests of our country and your fellow Americans firmly in mind and in heart.” [Letter to the President and Congress, 7/26/2011]

Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA:

"Mayors across the country echoed the President's sentiments this past weekend when we unanimously resolved that an agreement must be reached to increase the debt ceiling and prevent the nation from defaulting.  This can only happen if both Houses and both parties work together with the understanding that sacrifices must be shared.” [7/26/2011]

Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, CA:

“Enough with the politics. It’s time to get this done. The President's balanced approach is the smart route to end this impasse and ensure our economy isn't threatened.” [via Facebook, 7/27/2011]

Op-ed Penned by Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA; Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA; and Scott Smith, Mayor of Mesa, AZ:

“America’s cities are where Pennsylvania Avenue meets Main Street. City governments are working with businesses to put people back to work after three years of economic stagnation. But Washington’s budget impasse over the debt crisis now threatens to undo our progress and sink us back into recession…  The most important thing Congress can do is to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.” [Politico, 7/26/2011]

Bill Lockyer, CA State Treasurer:

“The families and businesses of this country need a long-term solution to this crisis. It's the best way to help us grow the economy and get folks back to work.” [Signed 7/28/2011]

Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of Connecticut:

“As the President noted, Americans are fed up with the politicians in Washington, DC who cling to ideology over common sense, and fight for special interests rather than the common good.  I urge Congress to quickly pass a long-term increase to the debt ceiling.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware:

"The President made clear that inaction is not an option. He is clearly willing to work to make some responsible reductions that could have a substantial impact on our long-term debt.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

 Chip Flowers, Delaware State Treasurer:

“The time has come to set aside the partisan division that has crippled our national engine of economic growth and adopt a balanced plan that will require all Americans to share in the burden of restoring the financial health of our government.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

 Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington, DC:

“I think fundamentally we want to see a solution.  This has created such instability in our city and other cities that we’ve got to be able to have some predictability in going forward.  We’ve been in a recession for three years.  Joblessness in our city is, you know, at very high levels.  Here in Washington, DC, our jobless rate is 9.5% but in some areas of the city it’s as high as 17 to 25%.  This just creates more uncertainty and more instability.  So we want a solution and we need it now.”  [Bloomberg, 7/20/2011, LINK]

Patrick Quinn, Governor of Illinois:

“We support the President in calling on Congress to come together on a long-term solution on the debt ceiling. Kicking the can down the road another six months does not address the deficit and does nothing to end the uncertainty in the financial markets and American living rooms.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

Letter to the President and Illinois Delegation from 40 Illinois Mayors:

“We are asking you to apply your leadership to overcome partisanship and demonstrate to our country that Congress is focused on stabilizing our markets. We are asking you to help create jobs and ensure the success of our cities, our State, and our Country.  We are asking you to please address the debt ceiling now.”  [Signed 7/28/2011]

State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis), chairwoman of the IBLC:

“The President offers the best approach to digging this country out of the mess that has been created by out-of-control spending, two unwanted wars, and tax cuts focused on helping the very rich, all of which originated from the previous presidential administration.” [Signed 7/27/2011]

William Crawford (D-Indianapolis), ranking Democrat on the budget-writing Indiana House Ways and Means Committee:

“Who would be hurt by the approach that is being taken by these Republicans? Everyone who isn’t at the top of the income scale. That means those in the middle class and on fixed incomes would pay the price,” Crawford said.” [Signed 7/27/2011]

Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, KY:

“It’s important that both parties, Democrats and Republicans, put aside partisan differences and seal a deal that addresses the debt ceiling and balances a need for deficit reduction and job creation… Default would be a disaster for our country and have a trickle-down impact on our city.” [7/25/2011, Link]

Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, LA:

“Now is the time for all parties in Washington to work in a bipartisan way to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit in a balanced way with a focus on investing in job creation… New Orleanians and residents in cities across our country can’t afford to let the partisan politics of Washington, D.C., dictate whether or not the United States meets its financial obligations and whether we can meet the needs of the future.  ” [7/26/2011]

 Martin O’Malley, DGA Chair and Governor of Maryland:

“We need to make the tough choices that will allow us to balance and move forward at the same time with critical investments to create jobs and opportunity now—that’s how we can retire the Bush deficit and accelerate the jobs recovery.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

 Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts:

"We know what we need: a long-term solution. There is nothing about a 6 month delay that fixes the long-term deficit hole or gives the markets confidence that we can solve our big issues or provides Massachusetts families with protection from dramatic interest rate increases. All it does is prolong the political drama.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston, MA:

“Put the sound bites aside; put people to work - that’s the most important thing… Even with all the work we’ve done, people remain out of work in our city.’’ [Remarks at an opening event for the National Urban League’s annual convention, Boston Globe, 7/28/2011]

Letter to the President and Massachusetts Delegation from 20 Massachusetts Mayors:

 Cities are the economic engines of this country, and as we work to rebound and rebuild from the recession, it is essential that Washington resolve the debt ceiling issue that is jeopardizing our nation’s economic recovery.” [Signed 7/28/2011]

David Bing, Mayor of Detroit, MI:

"President Obama has outlined a balanced approach to solving the nation's fiscal crisis and reducing our debt… Cities like Detroit cannot afford for our economic progress to be derailed by a delay in reaching an agreement." [July 26, 2011, Link]

Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing, MI:

"We've already got over 10 percent unemployment in the state of Michigan. People are hurting. The debate in Washington should be about jobs, it should be about investment, and they've been debating about this nonsense." [July 26, 2011, Link]

Bert Johnson, MI State Senator:

“Once again, President Obama is standing with and for the American people. He has called for a balanced approach to resolving the debt ceiling debate – one based in pragmatism, buttressed by sound public policy, and unencumbered by rigid ideological constraints.” [Signed 7/28/2011]

R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis, MN:

“People suffering from a real economic crisis have a right to ask why a few zealots in DC are creating an avoidable one.” [via Twitter, 7/25/2011]

Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, NV:

"It'll affect everything from every development going on in our city to people getting their Social Security checks and assistance with their rent check.” [7/25/2011, Link]

Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ: 

“America has always met tremendous challenge with unrelenting resolve, unity of purpose, and a unique toughness. That’s why I’m hopeful that the next seven days will bring broad-based congressional support for the President’s balanced approach to this nation’s debt crisis.” [7/26/2011]

 Mark Sokolich, Mayor of Fort Lee, NJ:

“You’re public servants, you’re here to represent America, and right now the job is horrible.”  [Fort Lee Patch, 7/26/2011, LINK]

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, NY:

"That the United States of America has come this close to defaulting on its debts—a failure that would have potentially disastrous economic consequences for us all, including New Yorkers—ought to be all the evidence anyone needs that there's something profoundly wrong in Washington.” [7/26/2011]

Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller:

"Beyond the impact on our pension fund, the failure to act in Washington could have other severe consequences in New York. The potential for higher borrowing costs, cash flow disruptions and a negative impact on bond markets at both the State and local levels are hanging like dark clouds over this debate in Washington.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

Bev Perdue, Governor of North Carolina:

“The logjam in Washington has taken us too close to the brink.  Our federal officials need to come together now to reach a balanced compromise that will avert a rating downgrade or payment default before it’s too late.” [7/29/2011]

Letter to the President and North Carolina Delegation from 8 North Carolina Mayors:

“Failure to successfully moderate the discussion and bring the parties together to resolve the debt ceiling crisis is unacceptable.   Our cities cannot withstand a deeper recession.  We cannot weather instability in the municipal bond market which will further slow infrastructure investments and job creation.”  [7/29/2011]

Anthony Foxx, Mayor of Charlotte, NC:

“If our nation falls to maintain the bedrock of its own full faith and credit, no one will remember the stand taken by Republicans or Democrats. They will not recall failed bills or negotiations. They will remember that, despite the known risks, our government failed to act.  Therefore, I implore Congress to do what Charlotte businesses, parents, and every member of our community do every day: mourn the absence of better choices and make the difficult calls required to move us forward.”  [7/26/2011]

 William V. Bell, Mayor of Durham, NC, On behalf of NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition:

“I cannot stress enough the damage you will do to our cities and our State if you do not find common ground and resolve the debt ceiling issue.  I am asking you to encourage your leadership to set aside the partisan bickering and political posturing and demonstrate to our country that Congress is focused on creating stability in our markets.  I am asking you to focus again, above all else, on job creation.  And I am asking you to address the debt ceiling now.” [Letter, 7/26/2011]

Janet Cowell, North Carolina State Treasurer:

“It is critical that the President and Congress act now by developing a credible, long-term plan to reduce the budget deficit.  A downgrade could have a harmful effect on the North Carolina Pension Fund and North Carolina investors who invest in Treasury bonds.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

 Letter to the President and Ohio Delegation from 22 Ohio Mayors:

“Ohioans do not want another recession.  Reaching a deal on the debt ceiling will restore faith in the American economy and allow for job growth in Ohio.  Please act quickly to pass a reasonable compromise.” [7/29/2011]

Earl Leiken, Mayor of Shaker Heights, OH:

“It is critical that Congress reach a resolution of the debt ceiling crisis which increases the ceiling through 2012 to reassure the credit markets and stabilize our economy. The uncertainty and instability of requiring that the debt ceiling issue be reconsidered again in 2012 would present a major problem for our cities.”  [7/28/2011]

Denny Doyle, Mayor of Beaverton, OR:

Please think about the cities like Beaverton, Oregon that need for you to work together to help ensure the stability of our local economies. We deal directly with our citizens, day in and day out, and this issue matters to people on the main streets of cities throughout our country.” [Letter to Speaker Boehner, 7/13/2011]

Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA:

“The behavior of some in Washington D.C. - recklessly bringing this country to the brink of default in service of short-term political gain - is the height of irresponsibility and a failure of their duty to serve and protect the American people.  Equally irresponsible is an approach to cutting our deficit which forces the poorest Americans to suffer and pay more while protecting millionaires, billionaires and special interests.” [7/25/2011]

Joseph P. Riley, Mayor of Charleston, SC:

“President Obama is providing leadership that our country desperately needs to bridge the debilitating partisan divide that exists in Washington.  There are some in Washington who are willing to play a game of Russian roulette by creating the danger of a headlong disastrous crash of our country’s economy by defaulting on our government’s financial obligations.  This is deplorable.” [7/26/2011]

A C Wharton, Mayor of Memphis, TN:

“The stunning inaction in Washington on raising the debt ceiling is a potential gut punch to those of us who have worked so hard on the frontlines to keep our cities and communities moving.  The fact that some Members of Congress will almost need to see the negative impact of their inaction before making necessary steps on this issue is not the type of leadership our nation needs – not now, not ever.” [via Facebook, 7/26/2011]

Garnett F. Coleman, TX State Representative:

“I urge you to watch the President's speech from last night and follow his advice: call your members of Congress and tell them that you support a compromised, balance approach to solving our nation's debt crisis.” [Signed 7/27/2011] 

Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont:

"President Obama made a forceful case tonight for addressing our long-term debt while avoiding a default on our debt obligations. The President has it right when he insists that if seniors and those who are struggling to make ends meet have to make sacrifices, then the oil company executives, corporate jet owners and multi-millionaires should also contribute to a solution.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

 Kesha Ram, VT State Representative:

“To turn our economy around and rebuild our nation, we need Congress to unite on behalf of the American people and create a fair, responsible budget, which the Reid plan begins to achieve. I support our President's long-term vision and compassionate solutions as the only way forward.” [Signed 7/28/2011]

Sharon Bulova, Fairfax County, VA Chairman, On behalf of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors:

“As a result, the ongoing stalemate over raising the federal debt limit and possible federal spending cuts or entitlement program reforms has created a crisis atmosphere that raises serious concerns in the County... Difficult decisions must be made, priorities must be set, and pain must be endured.  The time for a bipartisan agreement to avert a potential federal fiscal crisis, with ramifications for all Americans, is now.” [Letter, 7/26/2011]

Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington:

“President Obama was right to push Congress to act and act soon on a long-term solution to the debt ceiling. We can’t just kick the can down the road for another six months. The uncertainty of the debt negotiations has caused consumers to slow spending and businesses to slow hiring.” [Signed 7/26/2011]

Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, WA:

“Congress’s failure to raise our nation’s debt ceiling undermines our hard work. Even worse, it threatens the fragile recovery we’re seeing in Seattle. People are coming off the sidelines to invest in our city and congressional irresponsibility threatens to dry up their credit. It’s time for Congress to stop grandstanding and start working to protect our country’s financial security.” [7/29/2011]

Jim McIntire, WA State Treasurer:

 “Failure to act will likely crush a fragile economy, irreparably harm struggling businesses and families, damage responsible state governments, and undermine emerging stability among our community banks. This is a risk we cannot afford to take…” [Signed 7/27/2011]