Like everyone else in America, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa just wants Congress to get it together.
"Washington should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time," he noted from behind the podium Monday at the National Press Club, saying he hoped lawmakers would take up gun safety legislation and comprehensive immigration reform, the main topic of his speech.
"I would hope they would realize what I understood when I first got elected in 1994, is that values like statesmanship and civility and compromise and getting things done were values that people actually cherish," Villaraigosa said at the NPC event being held in his honor. "And that didn't mean we had 'Kumbaya' sessions ... but we understood we got elected to get things done," he said, referring to the time he spent in the California State Assembly.
He also hoped that Congress' low approval rating might get lawmakers to act on big issues. "You can tell a story about a Congress that went from a do-nothing Congress to a Congress that's getting things done on some of the most important issues of our time," he explained.
Villaraigosa, who has less than six months left in his final term as mayor, also discussed his own political future -- sort of. "With each passing week I take another step toward [what one would] call the transition from 'Who's who' to 'Who's he?' " he said to laughs. "But I'm not riding off into the sunset just yet." But where might he go? The Obama administration? The California governor's mansion? Would he take a job in the Cabinet if asked to serve?
"When I'm asked, I'll answer the question," he concluded, smiling.