On Monday, 251 business organizations from every corner of the United States co-signed a letter to Congress stating, “With the U.S. economy continuing to underperform, the federal government needs to maintain its normal operations pending a successful outcome of broader budgetary reforms. It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy. We respectfully urge the Congress to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner and remove any threat to the full faith and credit of the United States Government.”

This letter was spearheaded by the United States Chamber of Commerce and co-signed by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, California Chamber of Commerce, California Manufacturers & Technology Association and 14 other local chambers of commerce across the state. It represents the voice of businesses that every day have to meet payroll and keep the economy moving.

There is nothing wrong with fighting the good fight to stop or repeal policies you think are wrong. It is honorable to lead efforts to reign in spending and create a fiscal policy that plans for the future. Yet it is wrong, dead wrong, to hold the economic well-being of our country hostage over a political fight.

Our nation was founded on free speech, democracy and consensus. When elected leaders fail to use free speech and democracy to reach consensus, the public sees the process as more about a fight for power rather than the exercise of leadership. Partisan posturing is always part of the process, but in the end, leaders must step forward to forge the compromises that accomplish what is necessary for the republic.

Even the staunchest of partisan warriors like Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan would never take our economy to the edge of the cliff and endanger the well-being of so many families just to prove that they were listening to the interest groups that helped them get elected.

Our nation’s business community stepped in with a message that is loud and clear. We need to raise the debt ceiling, reopen government and then address many other crucial issues.