Mayor Riley talks federal budget, deficit issues

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mayor Riley has provided some information on the conversations he had Thursday in Washington, DC at the United States Conference of Mayors meeting on federal budget and deficit issues with Vice President Joe Biden and top House and Senate leaders.

According to a release from the mayor's office, Riley said, "It is essential that we avoid the rapidly approaching 'fiscal cliff' that threatens to do enormous harm to our people, our cities, and our national economy. For example, in the Charleston region, massive defense cuts would cause substantial jobs losses and could cripple our economic recovery. The long term fiscal fix our nation's leaders are now seeking must be responsible and carefully considered. A balance of budget cuts and additional revenues will be needed."

"I support President Obama's plan to extend existing tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 per year and, at the same time, in order to lower the deficit, to raise the tax rates for higher income taxpayers to the level they were at when the federal budget was last in balance. I believe that most Americans support this."

Riley also said he, "stressed the importance of funding infrastructure projects such as ports, including the deepening of Charleston Harbor, as important to our long-term competitiveness. It is critical that our fiscal policy also include investments in transportation infrastructure."

"My colleagues and I also urged continued funding for programs such as the Community Development Block Grants, which is essential in funding successful neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing projects in Charleston."

Included in Thursday's meetings were: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders including South Carolina's James Clyburn, and Incoming Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray and other Senate leaders, including Alaska's Mark Begich.

The mayors met with Vice President Biden in the White House. While on Capitol Hill, Mayor Riley also met with members of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham's senior staff.