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Entries in Mayors (3)

Tuesday
Sep202011

Mayors Lobby for Obama's Jobs Plan

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A group of bipartisan mayors braved the rain outside the White House Tuesday to urge lawmakers to stop playing politics and pass the president’s $447-billion jobs plan. “That’s why they call it the American Jobs Act,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters. “They need to take action. They need to do something. It's not the American Jobs Talk.  It's not the American Jobs Debate.  It's not the American Jobs Jerk Around.  It's the American Jobs Act.”
 
“Eighty-nine percent of the GDP of the nation is in our cities; 94 percent of the new jobs that'll be created will be created in our cities. And so we think it's important, at a time here in Washington when those in the Beltway bubble don't seem to be listening -- we think it's important that we hear from America's cities about the American Jobs Act, about job number one being the job of creating jobs and careers for people going into the future,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
 
The seven mayors were particularly supportive of the president’s proposal to fund infrastructure repairs around the country. “The unattended maintenance on our interstate highways and our bridges and our railroads and our water systems and our airports is unimaginable,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, the lone Republican in the group.
 
While the president threw down the political gauntlet on Monday and vowed to veto any deficit-reduction plan that does not include tax increases on the wealthy, the mayors insisted that the debate has been political from the start.
 
“I don't think it got any more political than it has [been]…The fact is, the idea that people are putting partisanship and party before country resonates with most of the people in California and, I think, most of the people around the country. People want us to work together,” Villaraigosa said.
 
The mayors met at the White House Tuesday with Senior Adviser David Plouffe and Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun202011

Mayors Urge Obama to Resolve Debt Crisis Quickly and Focus on Jobs

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- City mayors came to the White House Monday to urge President Obama to create jobs and boost the economy by resolving the debt crisis quickly and focusing instead on the needs of municipal economies, including spending on job training and infrastructure.

“The clock is ticking. The fact is that we have a Congress that is dithering,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told reporters Monday. His message to the president? It's all about "jobs, jobs, jobs!"

“We absolutely have to get people back to work. We cannot in these times allow some to debate on the head of the pin everything that makes us different and not find the common ground, the shared responsibility for resolving this deficit and debt in a way that’s smart,” he said.

The bipartisan group of 14 mayors met with the president and vice president for roughly an hour Monday, the second such meeting this year.

"When I go back home, no one is going to walk up to me on the streets of Philadelphia and start having a conversation about the debt limit or deficit reduction. What they want to know every day is, Mayor, I need a job," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. “Americans deserve a good answer to that question.”

With the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt limit looming, Congress continues to debate how to pay down the government’s $14 trillion budget deficit.

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden will resume his meetings with lawmakers to reach an agreement on the budget deficit and debt limit, with additional meetings to come on Wednesday and Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb242011

U.S. Mayors Slam Budget Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More than two dozen U.S. mayors voiced outrage over the proposed budged cuts outlined in the House of Representatives' 2011 continuing resolution at a press conference  in Washington Thursday. 

The mayors said they are most concerned with the proposed 62.5 percent cut to the Community Development Block Grant. The grant, known as CDBG, provides billions of dollars to cities -- mostly with little federal oversight -- for affordable housing, anti-poverty, and infrastructure development.

"These drastic cuts are unacceptable to the mayors of America, and today as nonpartisan mayors we have raised our voices," said Burnsville, Minnesota Mayor Elizabeth Kautz. "There are other programs that are critical to cities that are also on the cut list, but we take great exception to the Community Development Block Grant," Kautz added.  

The mayors vowed to do everything they can to educate members of Congress about how the federal dollars help residents of their communities.  Mostly Democrats, the assembled group called House Republicans' proposed cuts "an attack" on Americans. 

"This is literally un-American," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said.

"H.R.1. is un-American. It attacks senior citizens. It attacks children. It attacks working people.  It stops jobs and economic development in cities all across the United States of America," he said. 

Arguing that CDBG funds help leverage additional private sector money to create jobs, the mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, Setti Warren, described CDBG as "the lifeblood of citizens and towns." 

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have to engage our members in the House, our members in the Senate, governors, private sector, public sector, not only to say this is irresponsible and can’t stand, but to turn it around," he said.

Although they did not lay out their specific strategy to fight the cuts, the mayors said their hope rests in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The mayors also sidestepped a question about whether they'd like to see a government shutdown over House Republicans' deep cuts. 

But, one Republican mayor, without naming names, said elected officials in Washington just don't get it. 

"To me this is about hypocrisy. It is hypocritical for elected officials in Washington to say they value cities, they value the economy and they value jobs and then create a stimulus package and send it to the states where it never reach the cities," said Mick Cornett, the mayor of Oklahoma City. 

He added, "It’s a little bit lame for us to hear that they’ve got tough choices to make. Let me tell you, you be a mayor for a day and I’ll tell you about tough choices.  This is about priorities and the priorities need to be about the economy and if they start cutting the Community Development Block Grant then they have lost their priorities."

Asked if they are just as upset with President Obama's proposed cuts in his 2012 budget, the mayors said they only want to focus right now on the continuing resolution. 

This is just the second time since President Ford signed the Community Development Block Grant into law that the program has faced dramatic cuts or elimination.  In 2006, President George W. Bush sought to drastically cut the community branch of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  But the mayors said the cuts proposed in this year's H.R.1. would put their ability to create jobs and provide important services to the citizens at risk.  They called CDBG a program that gets results.

"This has been a program that all of us -- all of us -- can take you and put your hands right on the results of this programs. So we stand together on this," said Southfield, Michigan Mayor Brenda Lawrence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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