By Luke Broadwater
The Baltimore Sun
10:22 AM EST, November 16, 2012
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and 13 other mayors on Thursday met with Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other high-ranking federal officials in Washington D.C. to discuss the impact of the looming "fiscal cliff" on their cities.
"He made it clear that he gets it," Rawlings-Blake said of Biden after meeting with him. "Even though he's never been a mayor, he understands the need to invest in infrastructure."
Rawlings-Blake was joined by the mayors of Denver, Minneapolis and other cities. She said she spoke about Baltimore's recent string of water main breaks in a meeting with Pelosi.
She said Pelosi told the mayors to "use the power of our membership to magnify the impact on cities in a way that will resonate with the Republican members of the House."
"That type of investment has always been bipartisan," Rawlings-Blake said of infrastructure funds. "Lately there has been an inability to reach consensus on even issues that have been traditionally bipartisan."
If Republicans and Democrats cannot come together at a federal level to iron out their fiscal differences, thereby triggering a combination of both tax increases and cuts dubbed the "fiscal cliff," Baltimore will suffer from a "significant impact," Rawlings-Blake said.
The automatic, across-the-board budget cuts are slated to take effect in January, if lawmakers cannot work out a solution.
Rawlings-Blake said she asked Democrats to compromise with Republicans, and sought more federal funds dedicated for cities' infrastructure.
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