Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Vice President Biden Talks to State and Local Officials

    This afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden joined over 440 state, local, tribal and territorial officials on a call to talk about the debt ceiling deal signed by President Obama on August 2 and the Administration's ongoing economic priorities.

    Vice President Biden thanked the many state and local officials who spoke out during the debate for a balanced, bipartisan approach to the debt negotiations. He talked about the tough budget choices that state and local officials make every day, and discussed the President's insistence that costs not be passed on to state and local governments that can ill afford more budget cuts during these times. He also highlighted the significance of preserving funding for infrastructure, education and innovation to help grow the economy and create jobs.

    Following the Vice President, Jason Furman of the National Economic Council took questions from local officials on the call. These city and county leaders echoed the President’s remarks yesterday that now, with the debt ceiling raised and calamity averted, the conversation urgently needs to turn to job creation. Officials from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to Utah thanked the Administration for their efforts to stimulate job growth and encouraged federal officials to continue to push for programs that create jobs in states and cities.

    As always, we appreciated the chance to speak with a large group of state and local elected officials. And while it was great to hear from many officials on the call, we did not get a chance to answer everyone’s questions, so we encourage you to send your questions about the debt deal, the President’s commitment to helping state and local governments, the Administration's jobs agenda, and other topics to We’ll feature responses to your questions in upcoming blog posts.

     David Agnew is a Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs


  • Mayor Rawlings-Blake Discusses Urban Policy with Administration Officials

    Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the White House

    Balitmore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake explains her Vacants to Value program with Administration officials. (Photo by John Doyle, July 28, 2011) July 28, 2011. (by John Doyle)

    Last Thursday, the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs hosted Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the White House to hear about her Vacants to Value initiative that utilizes the private market to maximize the repair and rehabilitation of blighted properties.  Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s visit was part of a series designed to bring pioneering local leaders to the White House to share ideas on city innovation with Administration officials.

    More than 40 officials from the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House took part in the discussion with Mayor Rawlings-Blake about the challenges of urban blight.

  • Working Together for Clean Water and Strong Communities

    EPA is always looking for new ways to keep communities clean and healthy, while creating jobs and fostering economic growth. One way we’re accomplishing this goal is through innovative, sensible and cost-effective investments like green infrastructure.

    When it rains, stormwater picks up oil, pesticides and other chemicals on our streets and buildings and carries those pollutants into nearby waters. Communities have traditionally considered this stormwater to be wastewater that needs to be stored and treated – something that’s very costly to cities and towns on a budget. Green infrastructure manages stormwater by treating it like the valuable resource it is, working with Mother Nature, not against her. By using permeable pavements, rain barrels, landscape changes and other techniques, green infrastructure changes capture and filter stormwater so our waters will stay clean.

  • State and Local Officials Speak Out on Bipartisan Compromise

    On Sunday evening, President Obama announced a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation's deficit and avoid default.

    Over the past 24 hours state and local officials from across the country have spoken out about the bipartisan compromise:

    Los Angeles, California  Mayor and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa:
    ”Mayors across the country urge Congress to avert an economic crisis by passing legislation today to lift the debt ceiling. This legislation will create a framework for balanced fiscal discipline, which will help instill renewed confidence in our nation’s economy.”

    California State Assembly Speaker John Pérez
    “Today’s agreement on raising the debt ceiling will prevent the paralysis of our nation’s economy and allow us to move forward on addressing our country’s priorities. Thankfully, the President has set the stage for a balanced long term solution that includes revenues. And though the specifics of the first round of savings will not be known for several weeks, we are relieved to see that there should be little if any immediate impact on the balanced and on-time state budget we passed earlier this summer. It is critical that we prevent further debilitating cuts to schools, seniors and job creation efforts."

  • More State and Local Officials Join the Call for Compromise

    Earlier, over 100 state and local officials added their voices to the growing chorus urging Congress to compromise on behalf of the American people and to remove the cloud of uncertainty that currently hangs over our economy. 

    Since then we’ve heard from 50 more officials urging Congress to do their job before August 2.

    Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona State Senator:

    “Rather than finding compromise for the sake of American families, the U.S. House GOP continues to squabble our tax dollars on political poker. The Boehner bill will leave a cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy – something we can’t afford during such tough times. It would hurt our country’s ability to grow business, and it would shed even more jobs.  The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now. It is time to unite and conquer for the sake of the future of our country.” [7/29/2011]

    Letter to Congressional Leaders from 37 Florida mayors:

    “To protect our citizens from further financial hardship, we urge you to support a balanced approach to raising the debt ceiling. Reasonable cuts to domestic spending, combined with the elimination of some tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations, is the most responsible way to preserve our economic security and promote future growth.” [Signed 7/29/2011]

  • Deficit Crisis: State and Local Officials Call for a Balanced Approach

    On Monday evening, President Obama delivered an address to the nation on the consequences the stalemate in Congress could have on the stability of our economy. Here is what a bipartisan sampling of Governors and Mayors from across the country are saying:

    “We hope that at the end of the day, both sides come together and recognize that there does need to be a balanced approach, because a balanced approach is what solves the problem. The reality is the Republicans aren’t going to get 100 percent of what they want and the Democrats aren’t going to get 100 percent of what they want.” – Mayor Scott Smith, Mesa, AZ

    “Last night, President Obama once again demonstrated that he clearly understands that the key to winning the future includes a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility. New Orleanians and residents in cities across our country can’t afford to let the partisan politics of Washington, D.C., dictate whether or not the United States meets its financial obligations and whether we can meet the needs of the future.  We in New Orleans certainly cannot afford the consequences of a downgraded credit rating or government shutdown if the country defaults on its debt.” – Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans, LA