(MoneyWatch) Never mind the lobbyists: One Wall Street bank is taking a grassroots approach to ensuring that hardliners in Congress don't cause a default on the country's debt.
Morgan Stanley (MS) CEO James Gorman sent an email Thursday evening to every employee of the global financial firm urging them to write or call their congressional representatives to tell them not to jeopardize the nation's credit rating.
"It is time to resolve differences and come to a sensible agreement to keep the government functioning and pay our obligations," Gorman wrote. "I encourage everyone who is a U.S. citizen to contact your representatives in Washington and let them know that failure to raise the debt ceiling will have unacceptable consequences and cannot be allowed to happen."
Gorman was among a group of other CEOs of the country's largest banks who met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday at the White House. Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Bank of America (BAC) chief Brian Moynihan also met with Obama.
"Our message was unanimous," Gorman told his troops. "Whatever circumstances and disagreements got us to this current unhappy juncture, there is no way that our government leaders can allow the full faith and credit of the United States of America to be jeopardized. This is an issue that affects every single citizen, from veterans to social security recipients to government bond holders to all taxpayers, and threatens to derail an already fragile economic recovery."
Morgan Stanley has nearly 56,000 employees around the world, including 41,000 in the U.S.
The shutdown and the threats on Capitol Hill to refuse to raise the debt limit have pitted Republicans against Wall Street and other corporate sectors, traditionally close allies of the GOP. Wall Street banks are particularly concerned about Congress failing to raise the country's borrowing limit, which experts say could prompt a default on its debt. Wall Street banks are large holders of U.S. treasuries, whose value would likely plunge if the government can't pay the country's obligations. Defaulting on the debt would also jolt stocks and global financial markets.