MN Leaders Push for Debt-Ceiling Compromise

Five Minnesota business leaders are among the nearly 500 leaders from across the nation who are urging national leaders to come to a compromise regarding the U.S. debt ceiling and a plan to decrease the nation's deficit.

Leaders from 3M Company, Ameriprise Financial, General Mills, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce have joined forces with other business leaders from across the nation to push for a debt-ceiling compromise and a plan to lower the nation's deficit.

On Tuesday, nearly 500 business leaders from throughout the country sent a letter to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, expressing concern over the national deficit and an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

The nation's current debt ceiling-the legal limit that the federal government can borrow to pay off debts-is at $14.29 trillion, and the government is reportedly close to reaching that limit. If the debt ceiling isn't raised, the government runs the risk of not being able to make payments and defaulting on its debt obligations.

“A great nation-like a great company-has to be relied upon to pay its debts when they become due,” the leaders wrote in their letter. “Treasury securities influence the cost of financing not just for companies but more importantly for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and student debt. A default would risk both disarray in those markets and a host of unintended consequences.”

According to The Washington Post, the ceiling has been raised almost 100 times since it was established, increasing from less than $1 trillion in the 1980s to $6 trillion in the 1990s. The most recent time the ceiling was boosted was in February 2010, the publication reported.

David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, is among the five local leaders who signed Tuesday's letter.

As Minnesota's government remains in shutdown mode, Tom Hesse, vice president of government affairs for the chamber, told Twin Cities Business that the chamber is keeping in touch with local leaders at the capital and is offering advice on the state's budget impasse based on what it has heard from local chambers and businesses in recent months. He added that he is not aware of an initiative similar to Tuesday's letter existing on a local level.

The other four leaders who signed the letter are James Cracciolo, chairman and CEO of Ameriprise; Gary Bhojwani, president and CEO of Allianz Life Insurance; Kendall Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills; and Jeffrey Rageth, vice president of 3M.