L.A. mayor: Dithering on default "malpractice"

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) on CBS' "Face the Nation," July 3, 2011.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Sunday it would be "political malpractice" for Congress not to raise the debt limit, and scolded politicians on both sides of the aisle for "dithering" with the full faith and credit of the U.S. economy.

Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," Villaraigosa said Congressional members were "dithering with default" for political reasons, and that they should "submit their resignations" if they were willing to risk "jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States of America."

Appearing on the program alongside Governors Deval Patrick, D-Mass.; John Kasich, R-Ohio; and Scott Walker, R-Wis., the L.A. mayor urged Democrats and Republicans to "figure this out."

"Because the people expect them to do that," Villaraigosa said of Congress. "That's their job. It would be political malpractice not to balance this budget and raise the debt limit."

Patrick argued that "the hard right" in particular was acting irresponsibly in the debt limit talks, and called playing political "brinksmanship" with the economy inappropriate.

"The full and faith credit of the most important and the largest and most prosperous economy in the world is important," Patrick told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "And the notion [of] playing brinksmanship with it, as some in the hard right seem to want to do in Washington, is irresponsible."

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said the United States has until Aug. 2 to raise its statutory limit on how much money the United States can borrow. The U.S. reached its $14.3 debt limit in May, but the Treasury Department is using what it has described as "extraordinary" accounting measures to run the government in the interim. Some Republicans, however, have questioned that deadline.

On "Face the Nation," Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said he thought there needed to be serious reforms attached to any deal to raise the debt limit.

"I think they need to make some long-term structural changes," Walker told Schieffer. "Part of the benefit that each of the four [guests on the show] are talking about is not just balancing our budget but doing it in a way that provides structural reform for generations to come ... If [lawmakers] fail to do something in response to this debt setting limit to structurally change where they're headed, we're in real trouble with the economy."

Regardless, he warned, if Congress didn't resolve the situation with the debt limit, statewide economies would also suffer.

"If they don't deal with this issue, it will have a negative impact on the economy that will fall over into our states and cities," he said.

Walker inspired a national controversy earlier this year when, in an effort to balance the Wisconsin state budget, he made drastic cuts to the state budget and severely limited the collective bargaining rights of state workers. (The Wisconsin bill was widely protested, including by Democratic state lawmakers who left the state to postpone a vote on it. Ultimately, the legislation passed.)

Ohio Governor John Kasich said that he thought Congress would "get an agreement" on the debt limit, but that he hoped it would come with a "big deal."

"I think they will get through this crisis. They will raise the debt ceiling," Kasich said. "The question is, do they get a big deal or a little deal? I'll tell you something. I just hope that they can work the big deal because it will lift the country. It will lift my state."