Mayors, including Rybak, head to Washington to protest impending cuts

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and a dozen mayors from around the country will be in Washington, D.C., Thursday to lobby lawmakers about the effects of the fiscal cliff.

Organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the group wants Congress to resolve the deficit crisis by finding “a bi-partisan and balanced solution to achieve deficit reduction that facilitates, not undermines, economic growth in the nation’s cities and metropolitan areas.”

In addition to Rybak, the mayors attending are:

  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, USCM president
  • Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., vice president
  • Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, S.C., past president
  • Don Plusquellic of Akron, Ohio, past president
  • Michael Hancock of Denver
  • Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore
  • Stephen Benjamin of Columbia, S.C.
  • Patrick Henry Hays of North Little Rock, Ark.,
  • Michael Bissonnette of Chicopee, Mass.
  • Setti Warren of Newton, Mass
  • Paul Soglin of Madison
  • Alvin Brown of Jacksonville

The group says it plans closed meetings with many Democratic lawmakers, including: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Chair Mark Begich (D-Alaska).

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the mayors’ group says the pending sequestration cuts, if implemented, will do great hard to metro economies, which they say “represent over 90 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), nearly 90 percent of all wage and salary income, 86 percent of the nation’s employment, and 94 percent of future economic growth.”

The proposed cuts will cause “inevitable cuts to a number of critical local services and dramatic job losses for teachers, first responders, and health care workers,” the letter said.

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