By DONNA BRAZILE
I recently came across more proof that lawmakers blocking progress are weakening the institution of Congress:
Mayors from across the nation met in Washington, D.C., for three days last week to discuss a host of issues and possible solutions against a backdrop of congressional inaction. This came as President Obama stated his plans to use “a pen and a phone” to “make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need.” And further, voters are recognizing that the problem in Congress starts at the state level -- and many hope their legislatures will do something about it.
Scott Smith, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and mayor of Mesa, Ariz., put it bluntly: “Rather than look to Washington for assistance, mayors have been forced to turn to local partnerships to continue to accomplish more with less.”
We’ve been practicing innovation, creativity and the art of trying new things for years to keep our cities strong and thriving because the partnership between local and federal government is not as strong now as it once was,” Smith said.
“Several things that should be happening in Congress are not happening,” he stated. “Instead of Congress pulling together to help working Americans, there is an all-out assault on programs that would help them.”
Smith is a Republican who plans to resign his mayoral post in April to seek his party’s nomination for the Arizona governorship. He sounds nothing like the federal office-holders and candidates who seem to specialize in partisan rhetoric. Smith told USA Today he would miss his fellow mayors, describing them as a “pragmatic bunch who care more about finding solutions than about focusing on ideological differences.”
The USCM released a study that underscored the importance of our cities to our economy. Conducted by IHS Global Insight, a Massachusetts company that researches and analyzes economic trends, the study found that: