Continuing his appeal for federal government investments for local projects, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Sunday it would be "political malpractice" for Congress to fail to reach an agreement on raising the debt ceiling to balance the federal budget.
"Our No. 1 priority is jobs, jobs, jobs," Villaraigosa said during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation." "We have to put people back to work. We have to put up $40 billion we will get over the next 40 years that we want to see invested over the next 10 years. It doesn't cost the federal government much and we will pay it back."
But, he said, it will require Congress to agree to increase the debt limit to put the federal budget in balance.
Villaraigosa was the only mayor on the panel, which included three governors: Democrat Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, and Republicans John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. All four said it was important for the federal government to balance its budget, even if structural reforms are necessary.
Villaraigosa, who was in Aspen for the annual Ideas Festival, said he has had to make significant cuts over the past three years in balancing what is now a $6.9 billion budget.
"We have had to make significant reductions, but we have retained our core services in public safety," he said. "It has not been ideological."
Villaraigosa said he believes next year's elections will be difficult for all incumbents, unless they are able toreach an agreement and begin improving the nation's economy.
"We are on the verge of jeopardizing the nation's whole credit because Democrats won't address the entitlements of Medicare and Social Security and Republicans don't want to talk about revenues and defense spending," he said. "The fact of the matter is we have to do all of it. If they can't balance the budget they should submit their resignations if they put us in default."
Kasich, who was in Congress in 1996 and was one of the architects of balancing the budget, said it was time for the two parties to begin to work together. He was part of the highly publicized golf foursome two weeks ago with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Speaker John Boehner. Kasich said the outing was an attempt to open dialogue.
"The purpose was to get Republicans and Democrats to begin to talk to one another," Kasich said. "We have lost the ability to talk to people."