Governors to Congress: Get a Deal Done on Debt Ceiling

By Sean Cavanagh — July 20, 2011 1 min read
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Business owners and everyday investors aren’t the only ones nervous about the once-unthinkable prospect of Congress failing to raising the debt ceiling, and the country sinking into a default.

Some of the nation’s governors have warned of the consquences of default on their states, and suggested that the protracted federal standoff over the issue is hurting their economies.

Those fears are bipartisan, and they were evident last week at the National Governors Association’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City. The official agenda focused in part on strategies for improving state education systems and the benefits for the economy, but debt talk was a part of the unofficial discussion.

“Out across the nation, we can ill afford the debate that’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire told reporters at a press conference on July 15. “We’re at a fragile state of recovery.”

Gregoire, the group’s former chair, suggested that impasse was hurting the economy in her state, and could be slowing the state’s collection of sales taxes, echoing an argument that President Obama has made about the impact of the stalemate on the national economy.

“Consumers aren’t buying goods,” said Gregoire, a Democrat. “Businesses that have the money to hire are not hiring because people are concerned about this. It’s time we put this issue behind us.”

Nebraska Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, the group’s chairman, urged both parties to “drop some of this partisanship” and “do what’s right for America” on the debt crisis.

“America cannot default on its obligations,” Heineman said.

That said, it was clear the governors have different views of what steps Congress should take to resolve the debt impasse—for instance, whether lawmakers should simply focus on spending cuts, or consider some mix of cuts and tax hikes.

Here’s a link to the video of the opening press conference. Also, my colleague Michelle McNeil has this piece on the possible impact of an extended debt stalemate, and a default, on K-12.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.