Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Action Agenda Gains Bipartisan Support on Hill: News Conference Highlights Strategy

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Action Agenda Gains Bipartisan Support on Hill: News Conference Highlights Strategy

Article excerpt

The perspective of a congressman from a small state brightly illuminated the big picture of NLC'S deficit reduction campaign during a news conference on Capitol Hill last week.

"I was amazed when I read the statement adopted by the National League of Cities. It looked like we had written it," said Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.) one of the leaders of a bipartisan coalition of House members trying to break the impasse on deficit reduction.

"We all believe that we need to forge a balanced budget within the next six or seven years," said Castle. "We must give certainty back to the federal funding process. We do not believe that is reasonable to have tax cuts at the same time. There must be a clean separation of the budget issue and tax cuts. And, we need to deal with significant entitlement reform now because unless we're willing to do that, we will not be able to balance the federal budget."

Castle, who also served two terms as governor of Delaware before seeking election to Congress, also remarked that, "I'm from a state whose total population (just over 700,000) is less than some of your cities ... (yet) there is a very clear convergence of opinion on this important issue. I think if state officials were here, they would agree, too."

Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) echoed Castle's remarks and applauded NLC for its efforts "on our shared goal to make this what we know it should be--an American solution."

"I, too, was amazed by the NLC statement when I realized just how in sync it is with what we've been trying to do through what is now generally known as the 'Blue Dog' movement," said Tanner. …

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