With a national deficit of more than $10 trillion and 14 million Americans out of work, Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to the nation’s capital on Tuesday to call on federal lawmakers and the president to take some bold steps. NY1's Washington reporter Erin Billups filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ruled out a presidential run, but he still wants to have a strong voice on the national stage. He is urging both parties in Congress and President Barack Obama to take bold action in balancing the budget.
Speaking Tuesday morning at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. at an event co-sponsored by the American Action Forum, the mayor said the work of the congressional "debt supercommittee" is vital.
"Or else this Congress, and this administration, will be remembered for commencing the decline of the greatest economic power ever built," said Bloomberg.
The mayor said the plan to shrink the nation's debt and grow the economy needs more drastic steps than the $1.2 trillion in cuts the supercommittee of lawmakers is charged with finding.
Bloomberg urged Democrats to give in on cuts in health care and Social Security, and accused them of playing politics.
"Stop pitting Americans against each other in a game of class warfare for their own political purposes," said the mayor.
As for Republicans, Bloomberg said it's time to let the Bush tax cuts expire for all tax brackets.
"Stop protecting every tax break and loophole as though they were sacrosanct," Bloomberg said.
“For too long, Washington has operated on the ‘something for nothing’ principle. Both parties have promised their constituents the world and given them debt and a sluggish economy and anemic job growth," Bloomberg said.
Without a compromise that would lead to long-term tax and regulatory policies, the mayor warns that business leaders will remain unwilling to invest.
"Companies are expressing a vote of no confidence in Washington because of the lack of certainty they face, and we see the effects in the lack of job growth and investment throughout our country," Bloomberg said.
A Democrat turned Republican turned independent, Bloomberg ended by asking the public to help push Washington lawmakers to find a bipartisan solution.
"This moment isn’t about what the party leadership will say or how a party faction will vote or what impact it will have on the next election. It’s about our future," said Bloomberg.
If the supercommittee does not meet its November deadline, cuts will automatically be taken from discretionary and defense spending.