News Press

Open Letter to the President & Congressional Leaders from Concerned Business Leaders

May 16, 2023

Dear President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, House Speaker McCarthy and House Minority Leader Jeffries,

Since its founding, the United States has held honoring its debts as among its most important governing principles. In recent years, that commitment has been challenged from time to time as Congress has periodically increased the limit on the nation’s overall indebtedness to accommodate persistent budget deficits. At present, the country is facing another such challenge.

We write to emphasize the potentially disastrous consequences of a failure by the federal government to meet its obligations. Absent a resolution, the government is likely to run out of money as soon as June 1. Action to end the pending debt crisis is necessary now.

The closest the U.S. has come to default was in 2011. As the likelihood of default increased, Standard & Poor’s took away the United States’ hallowed AAA rating (which has still not been restored). An agreement to raise the ceiling was reached two days before the federal government would have defaulted, but the stock market still lost 17% of its value for more than a year. Moody’s reported that the heightened uncertainty from this crisis resulted in 1.2 million fewer jobs, a 0.7 percentage point higher unemployment rate, and a $180 billion smaller economy than it otherwise would have—dire impacts that occurred without an actual default.

Failure to resolve the current impasse could easily have more negative consequences. Although the American economy is generally strong, high inflation has created stresses in our financial system, including several recent bank failures. Much worse will occur if the nation defaults on our debt obligations, which would weaken our position in the world financial system. Large amounts of our $31 trillion debt are held by pension funds, individuals, and other governments. The inability to incur new debt would also threaten the government’s ability to pay its other bills, potentially including some payments to Social Security or Medicare recipients. This cannot be allowed to happen.

We strongly urge that an accord be reached quickly so that the country can avert this potentially devasting scenario.


Jeffrey H. Aronson, Managing Principal, Centerbridge Partners

Robert Bakish, President & CEO, Paramount

Neil Barr, Chair & Managing Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Jeff T. Blau, Chief Executive Officer, The Related Companies, L.P.

Albert Bourla, Chairman & CEO, Pfizer Inc.

Tim Cawley, Chairman, President & CEO, Con Edison

John Doyle, President & CEO, Marsh McLennan

Blair W. Effron, Co-Founder, Centerview Partners

William E. Ford, Chairman & CEO, General Atlantic LLC

Jeff Gennette, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc.

James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley

Barry M. Gosin, Chief Executive Officer, Newmark

Evan G. Greenberg, Chairman & CEO, Chubb

Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman & CEO, Lazard

Brad S. Karp, Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Charles R. Kaye, Chief Executive Officer, Warburg Pincus LLC

Henry R. Kravis, Co-Founder & Executive Co-Chairman, KKR

Kewsong Lee, Founder & Managing Partner, Waterfront Partners LLC

Martin Lipton, Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Peter W. May, President & Founding Partner, Trian Partners

Andrew McMahon, CEO & President, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Charles E. Phillips, Jr., Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Recognize

Steven L. Rattner, Chairman & CEO, Willett Advisors LLC

Steven Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Communications, Inc.

Kevin P. Ryan, Founder & CEO, AlleyCorp

Alan D. Schnitzer, Chairman & CEO, The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Alan D. Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners, LLC

Joshua Silverman, Chief Executive Officer, Etsy, Inc.

David M. Solomon, Chairman & CEO, Goldman Sachs

Jeffrey M. Solomon, President, TD Cowen

Rob Speyer, President & CEO, Tishman Speyer

Robert K. Steel, Vice Chairman, Perella Weinberg Partners

Steven R. Swartz, President & CEO, Hearst

James S. Tisch, President & CEO, Loews Corporation

George H. Walker, Chairman & CEO, Neuberger Berman

Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City


William D. Abramson, Principal, Buchbinder & Warren Realty Group LLC

Pranay Agrawal, Co-Founder & CEO, Fractal Analytics Inc.

Lee S. Ainslie, Managing Partner, Maverick Capital

Simon Allen, Chief Executive Officer, McGraw Hill

Glenn R. August, Founder & CEO, Oak Hill Advisors L.P.

Candace K. Beinecke, Senior Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Charles R. Bendit, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Taconic Investment Partners LLC

Stephen Berger, Chairman, Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC

William H. Berkman, Co-Chairman & CEO, Radius Global Infrastructure, Inc.

Frank J. Bisignano, Chairman, President & CEO, Fiserv

Kathy Bloomgarden, Chief Executive Officer, Ruder Finn, Inc.

Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Warby Parker

John Borthwick, Founder & CEO, Betaworks

Greg Bovitz, Chief Executive Officer, Bovitz

Marty Burger, Chief Executive Officer, Silverstein Properties, Inc.

Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chair, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Cromwell Coulson, President & CEO, OTC Markets Group

Todd C. DeGarmo, CEO Emeritus, STUDIOS Architecture

Craig DeSanto, Chair, President & CEO, New York Life Insurance Company

Annemarie DiCola, Chief Executive Officer, Trepp, LLC

Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Partner and Co-Founder, Ehrenkranz Partners L.P.

Sean Feeney, Co-Owner of Lilia & Misi & Co-Founder, Grovehouse

Peter Finn, Chief Executive Officer, Finn Partners

John Fish, Chairman & CEO, Suffolk

Winston C. Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers

Alan H. Fishman, Founder, Willow Holdings, Inc.

Adam Flatto, President & CEO, The Georgetown Company

Adena Friedman, Chair & CEO, Nasdaq

Eric J. Friedman, Executive Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Peter Furci, Presiding Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Michael Gerstenzang, Managing Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Warby Parker

MaryAnne Gilmartin, Founder & CEO, MAG Partners LP

Jeffrey Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer, Fairstead

Perry Golkin, Chief Executive Officer, PPC Enterprises LLC

David J. Greenwald, Chairman, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Efraim Grinberg, Chairman & CEO, Movado Group, Inc.

Stewart KP Gross, Managing Director, Lightyear Capital

Christopher Grosso, Chief Executive Officer, Intersection

Samer Hamadeh, Founder & CEO, Zeel

Naureen Hassan, President UBS Americas and CEO, UBS Americas Holding LLC

Robin Hayes, Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue Airways Corporation

Leslie W. Himmel, Managing Partner, Himmel + Meringoff Properties LLC

Frederick J. Iseman, Chairman & CEO, CI Capital Partners LLC

Julie H. Jones, Chair, Ropes & Gray LLP

John Josephson, Chairman & CEO, SESAC Music Group

Roberta Kaplan, Founding Partner, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

Anthony S. Kendall, Chairman & CEO, Mitchell & Titus, LLP

Andrew Klaber, President, Bedford Ridge Capital

Jack Kopnisky, Executive Chairman, Webster Bank N.A.

Philippe Krakowsky, Chief Executive Officer, Interpublic Group

Barbara Armand Kushner, President, Armand Corporation

Thomas M. Laird, Jr., President & CEO, Gilbane Building Company

Rochelle B. Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy

Joey Levin, Chief Executive Officer, IAC

Jeffrey E. Levine, Chairman, The Douglaston Companies

Roger Lynch, Chief Executive Officer, Condé Nast

Richard Mack, Chief Executive Officer, Mack Real Estate Group

Mehdi Mahmud, CEO & President, First Eagle Investment Management, LLC

Tracy V. Maitland, President, Advent Capital Management, LLC

Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman, President & CEO, Empire State Realty Trust

Anthony E. Mann, President & CEO, E-J Electric Installation Co.

Shuji Matsuura, Chief Executive Officer, Mizuho Americas

Charles R. McCall, Chief Executive Officer, Astoria Energy II LLC &, Astoria Energy LLC

Kevin J. McCarty, Chairman & CEO, West Monroe

Anish Melwani, Chairman & CEO, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc.

Edward J. Minskoff, Chairman & CEO, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.

Ken Moelis, Chairman and CEO, Moelis & Company

Daniel J. Moore, President & CEO, Rockefeller Group International, Inc.

R. Tyler Morse, Chairman & CEO, MCR/ MORSE Development

Deanna M. Mulligan, Chief Executive Officer, Purposeful

Liz Neumark, Chair & Founder, Great Performances

Mark Pearson, President & CEO, Equitable

Michael Phillips, President, Jamestown Properties LLC

Deirdre Quinn, Co-Founder & CEO, Lafayette 148 New York

Daniel Ramot, Co-Founder & CEO, Via

Scott H. Rechler, Chairman & CEO, RXR

James D. Robinson III, Co-Founder & General Partner, RRE Ventures

Steven Roth, Chairman & CEO, Vornado Realty Trust

Mitchell E. Rudin, Chairman & CEO, Savills Inc.

William C. Rudin, Co-Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company, Inc.

Philip K. Ryan, Chairman, Swiss Re Americas

Faiza Saeed, Presiding Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Scott Salmirs, President & CEO, ABM Industries Inc.

Ralph Schlosstein, Chairman Emeritus, Evercore

Martin Schroeter, Chairman & CEO, Kyndryl Inc.

Andrew Schwartz, Co-President, NY Tri-State Region, The Howard Hughes Corporation

Frank Scremin, Chief Executive Officer, LaGuardia Gateway Partners

Kathleen Shanahan, Chief Executive Officer, Turtle & Hughes, Inc.

Suzanne Shank, President & CEO, Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC

Jonathan Silvan, Chief Executive Officer, Global Strategy Group, LLC

Douglas C. Steiner, Chairman, Steiner Studios

William C. Stone, Founder, Chairman & CEO, SS&C Technologies, Inc.

Alan Suna, Chairman, Silvercup Studios

Owen D. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, BXP

Daniel R. Tishman, Vice Chairman, AECOM & Principal, Tishman Realty

Paul Todd, Chief Executive Officer, GLG

William B. Tyree, Managing Partner, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Jon D. Van Gorp, Chair, Mayer Brown LLP

James R. Wacht, President, Lee & Associates NYC

Pamela S. Wasserstein, President, Vox Media

Jeffrey Weiner, Chairman & CEO, Marcum LLP

Charles Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer, Eisner Advisory Group LLC

John Willinge, Chairman, Alverstoke Group

Zach Winick, Co-President, NY Tri-State Region, The Howard Hughes Corporation

David Winter, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Standard Industries Inc.

Robert Wolf, Chief Executive Officer, 32 Advisors LLC

Rudolph Wynter, President, NY, National Grid

Strauss Zelnick, Partner, ZMC

Michael Zetlin, Senior Partner, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP