Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says the economic downturn has already pushed many cities over the edge. They can't afford to fall off the fiscal cliff too, he says.

If Congress fails to make a deal by January, automatic budget cuts and huge tax hikes will kick in. Nutter says it would be nearly impossible for Philadelphia to absorb those cuts under the scenario known as the "fiscal cliff." 

“More than 80 homeowners facing foreclosure would not get any counseling services, potentially adding $1.6 million to the city’s homelessness challenge," he says. "Cuts to Head Start will result in a loss of 400 Head Start slots and the loss of 30 jobs for teachers and classroom aides. And we’re also at risk of losing $1 million in Homeland Security grants.”  

During a Monday conference call with other Pennsylvania mayors, Nutter went to bat for President Barack Obama. He, like Obama, says Congress should avoid the fiscal cliff by raising taxes on the country’s wealthiest citizens.  

“You cannot just cut your way out of the level of debt and deficit that the country is facing," Nutter says.  

GOP House Speaker John Boehner is fighting to extend tax cuts for America’s top earners. Republicans say tax increases would destroy jobs. Boehner wants to avert the fiscal cliff by closing loopholes and limiting tax deductions instead.