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