Shumlin Hopes Governors Can Influence Debt Ceiling Debate

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(Host) As governors from across the country meet this weekend in Utah, Governor Peter Shumlin says he hopes they can "bring some rational thoughts" to the debate in Washington over raising the country’s debt ceiling.

Shumlin says a failure to reach a compromise will hurt essential programs in every state and could throw the country back into a recession.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) This weekend, many of the nation’s governors will gather in Salt Lake City for their annual summer meeting.

Governor Shumlin says the top issue for many governors is the stalemate in Congress over efforts to raise the country’s debt ceiling.

President Obama has proposed a package of budget cuts and new revenue.  He wants to close some tax loopholes for corporations and he wants to impose higher tax rates on wealthy people. But Republican leaders don’t want to include any new revenue in the deal.

Shumlin says it’s critical to find a compromise before the country has to default on some of its financial obligations:

(Shumlin) "From the governors’ perspective whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat we have to balance our budgets we have to make the tough choices and it’s just astounding to me that these folks in Congress are holding up reasonable compromise from both sides."    

(Kinzel) And Shumlin thinks the President’s approach is a reasonable solution to the problem:

(Shumlin) "Everyone has to put some skin in the game and that’s what I hear the President saying and I hear the Tea Party Congressional folks saying we’re not going to go there. It’s just not responsible."

Shumlin says the impact of not finding a compromise by the August 2nd deadline would be devastating for many state and federal programs:

(Shumlin) "We can go right back into recession here if we reduce our bond rating if they prove that government can’t get anything done in Washington and frankly if they prove that we can’t be fiscally responsible let’s not forget Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland we don’t want to join that crowd."

(Kinzel) Shumlin says he’s hoping that the leadership of the NGA will be able to find a way to draft a bi-partisan resolution that reflects the concerns of many governors on this issue.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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