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Mayors approve end-the-wars resolution

June 20, 2011 at 11:38 PM
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BALTIMORE, June 20 (UPI) -- U.S. mayors voted Monday in favor of a resolution urging speedy ends to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, redirecting war funding to needs at home.

The resolution was adopted after it was amended to stipulate that "the drawdown of troops should be done in a measured way that does not destabilize the region," The New York Times reported. Another amendment called for revenues saved by ending the wars to be used "to reduce the federal debt," as well as to "meet vital human needs," the newspaper said.

Several of the mayors met for about an hour with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Following the meeting, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, said he urged Obama and Biden to push for jobs growth.

"The fact is we have a Congress that's dithering" on job creation, he said.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, also a Democrat, accused Washington of a "lack of reality," noting that some members of Congress advocate spending cuts that hurt their districts.

"We recognize deficit reduction is important ... but when I go back home, no one is going to walk up to me on the streets of Philadelphia and start having a conversation about the debt limit and deficit reduction," he said. "What they want to know is, mayor, I need a job."

Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith, a Republican, said the mayors stressed job creation because it would prompt businesses to invest.

"We plead with the Congress to solve this problem quickly," Smith said, noting that the mayors' meetings have featured bipartisanship, because mayors are "here to solve problems, we're not here to score points."

The mayors, meeting in Baltimore also planned to announce results of their annual city water taste test and participate in workshops concerning city partnerships for education and nutrition, the conference agenda indicated.

Participants in the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting, which ends Tuesday, told The Baltimore Sun they took comfort in knowing that other cities' executives were in the same boat financially.

"It's sort of relaxing," Maher Maso of Frisco, Texas, said of other mayors' cities. "Somebody else has to deal with it."

Villaraigosa became the organization's president, succeeding Elizabeth Kautz, mayor of Burnsville, Minn.

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