Entries in Debt (81)


John Boehner: The ‘Talk About Raising Revenue Is Over’

TOBY JORRIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz during an exclusive interview for This Week that talk of including revenue as part of an effort to strike a so-called “grand bargain” to address the $16 trillion debt of the United States was “over,” leaving Democrats and Republicans where they have been for months – at loggerheads.

“The president believes that we have to have more taxes from the American people. We’re not going to get very far,” Boehner said. “The president got his tax hikes on January 1.  The talk about raising revenue is over.  It’s time to deal with the spending problem.”

Boehner said the United States does not face an immediate debt problem, agreeing with recent comments by President Obama – but he added debt is an issue that will have to be addressed.

“We do not have an immediate debt crisis – but we all know that we have one looming,” he said. “And we have one looming because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They’re going to go bankrupt.”

Boehner said “hope springs eternal” in regards to the possibility of a budget deal, and told Raddatz that he has a “very good relationship” with President Obama and that he “absolutely” trusts him. He added that the president’s recent outreach — or so called “charm offensive” –intended to woo Republicans, is a “good thing.”

“It’s always a good thing to engage in more conversation, engage more members in the conversation that have not been involved up to this point,” he said.

Raddatz asked Boehner about the divergent messages seeming to emerge from CPAC, this weekend’s conservative political conference, citing speeches by Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio.

“There’s nothin’ wrong with the principles of our party,” he said. “But Republicans have not done as an effective job as we should in terms of talking about our principles in terms that average people can appreciate — why balancing the budget, as an example, would be good for American families. We’ve got to do a better job of helping people understand what our principles are in terms that they deal with every day.”

On gun control, when asked if he would commit to a vote on the House floor Boehner told Raddatz ” we’ll see what the Senate does, we’ll review it, and we’re going to continue to have our hearings and review this issue.”

Lastly, Boehner, who is Catholic, addressed the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope, Pope Francis.

“Well, this is the first time that we’ve had a pope from the Americas,” Boehner said. “So, I think it’s a giant step forward for the church.  Latin America is a very, very Catholic continent.  And I do believe that Pope Francis is the right person to really bring reform to the church.

“They’ve got a number of issues at the Vatican that I think need fresh eyes,” Boehner added. “And he’s clearly made a commitment to clean up some of the problems that the church has had.  And it’s pretty clear from his humble nature that his papacy will be one that I think a lot of people will appreciate.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Campaign Debt Outlives Presidential Races

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The race might be over, but it hasn't all been paid for.

Presidential campaigns still owe millions of dollars to consultants, former staffers, phone companies, software vendors, database management firms, direct-mail firms, sign printers, event-productions companies and banks; in other words, nearly every kind of entity with which a campaign does business.

Some campaigns owe money back to the candidates themselves, and one owes money to a former rival.

The total won't be known until campaigns file their next disclosures next month, but Obama and Romney owed nearly $8.5 million combined (all of Romney's debt owed on a $3 million loan), according to their Oct. 17 pre-election disclosures.  Of course, with more than $146 million in the bank, they likely have enough cash to cover it.

The failed GOP primary candidates, however, still owe their share: more than $7 million, according to their latest Federal Election Commission filings in September and October.

Candidate debt is commonplace, and the most notable examples are Hillary Clinton, whose 2008 presidential campaign still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars earlier this year; and Rudy Giuliani, whose 2008 campaign still owes $2.6 million.  Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, is in a class by himself, still owing nearly $2.7 million more than 20 years after running for president in 1984.

Half of the failed GOP presidential primary candidates have clean balance sheets.  Jon Huntsman, Tim Aplenty, Ron Paul and Rick Perry have zero debt, according to their FEC disclosures.  For the other half, some of the debts are complicated.

Herman Cain's campaign owed $450,000 as of Sept. 30, all of it to Herman Cain.  The candidate is owed $175,000 in "travel expenses" and $275,000 for a series of five loans, most of them $50,000 or less, which Cain made to his campaign between June and August of 2011.  His campaign has already paid him back for eight loans totaling $400,000.

Rick Santorum's campaign owed more than $1.1 million, and Michele Bachmann's owed more than $530,000, as of their FEC filings in September and October, respectively, which is far more than they had in the bank, casting doubt on whether their 33 creditors will ever get paid.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, meanwhile, reported more than $227,000 in debt, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein reported $44,000; again, more than they had.

But among the 2012 GOP candidates, Newt Gingrich owes the most, hands down.  He owed $4.9 million as of his last disclosure on Sept. 30, but after renting his list of supporters and reaching agreements with creditors, he'll close the year owing $4.6 million, spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Reports First Debt of Campaign

Toni Sandys/The Washington Post(DALLAS) -- For the first time in this campaign, Mitt Romney’s campaign is $11 million in debt after borrowing $20 million in August.

The debt and borrowing sums were first reported by the National Review Online and confirmed by ABC News.

The campaign borrowed the money from the Bank of Georgetown, according to the report.

The move came just before the Republican National Convention when aides had complained they had been running out of primary campaign dollars to compete with President Obama’s campaign. At the conclusion of the Republican convention, when Romney officially became the party’s nominee, Romney had access to general election funds it had raised.

Earlier this month, the Romney campaign announced that it had raised $111.6 million, less than Obama’s campaign, which raised $114 million.

It marked the first month the Obama campaign has raised more cash than Romney since April, when the GOP candidate raised $40.1 million to Obama’s $43.6 million.

The news of the debt comes after an already rough week for the Romney campaign, which has been facing demands for more specifics in its proposals and was then criticized over leaked videos of the candidate telling high-dollar donors that 47 percent of Americans are believe they are “victims” and are dependent on government to meet their needs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Taps Cash Reserves, Adds Debt in July

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- For the third consecutive month, the Obama campaign spent more than it raised, assumed new debt and substantially depleted its cash-on-hand reserves, according to the organization’s Federal Election Commission filing for July.

Obama for America collected $49.1 million between July 1 and 31 -- a modest increase over June and on pace to match the president’s fundraising record of $746 million from four years ago.

But a rapid summertime expansion of grassroots organizing operations in swing states and an aggressive advertising blitz against rival Mitt Romney has begun to drain resources. Obama for America spent $58.8 million over the same period, according to the filing.

The top five expenditures last month were media buys ($39 million), online ads ($8.7 million), payroll ($2.9 million), payroll taxes ($1.2 million) and polling ($900,000).

Obama’s available cash on hand fell $10 million in July from $97 million to $87.7 million.  Debts owed by the campaign rose to $2.8 million.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign and affiliated groups are on track to out-raise and out-spend Obama with an expected $1 billion on advertising.

“I will be outspent in this election. And we will not win the ad wars on TV and radio -- right now, the other side is outspending us on TV by at least 2-to-1 in most battleground states,” Obama said in an email to supporters earlier this month.

“That’s OK. But only if we’re able to keep the spending gap close enough so that our investments in a truly grassroots campaign pay off,” he said, making an appeal.

Joint fundraising accounts with the Democratic National Committee will help keep Obama competitive with Romney.  The Obama Victory Fund raised $30.4 million in July. The party itself reported raising $9.9 million.

All official entities raising money for a second Obama term had a combined $126.7 million cash on hand as of July 31.  The Romney campaign and its affiliated groups reported $185.9 million on hand.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton Close to Paying Off 2008 Campaign Debt

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton, who has steadily chipped away at the more than $25 million in debt her campaign amassed during her run for president, owes only $100,000, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures for the second quarter of 2012.

Running for president is expensive, and although the subject of campaign debt has usually been synonymous with Newt Gingrich in the past several months, Clinton is among the many former presidential candidates who’ve departed the trail in debt.

She suspended her campaign in June 2008 owing $25 million, but had paid off enough by the end of that year to owe $5.9 million.

Almost four years later, the campaign owes $100,000 to one entity, the firm of Penn, Schoen & Berland for consulting and polling fees.  Penn, Schoen & Berland is a market research firm headed up by a trio of longtime advisers to both Bill and Hillary Clinton: Mark Penn, Doug Schoen and Michael Berland.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama Accuses Mitt Romney of ‘Cow-Pie Distortion’ on Debt, Deficits

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- On his first visit back to the Iowa state fairgrounds since the 2008 campaign, President Obama Thursday night used a grassroots rally to launch sharp new attacks against rival Mitt Romney over the debt and deficit and vigorously defend his own handling of the same.

The venue holds symbolic value for Democrats because it was here in August that Romney made his now-famous declaration that “corporations are people, my friend.”

Obama thrust the Republican candidate’s unflattering moment front and center early on.

“The worldview that Gov. Romney gained from his experience as a financial CEO explains something. It explains why the last time he visited these same fairgrounds, he famously declared ‘corporations are people,’” Obama said, drawing loud boos from the crowd of 2,500.

“That’s what he said, that’s what he called them,” Obama added. “It also explains why, when a woman right here in Iowa shared a story of her financial struggles, he gave her an answer out of an economics textbook.  He said, ‘Our productivity equals our income.’  Let me tell you something: We believe in the profit motive. We believe that risk-takers and investors should be rewarded. That’s what makes our economy so dynamic. But we also believe that everybody should have opportunity.”

Ahead of the event, Obama’s re-election campaign circulated a video of Romney’s Iowa State Fair remarks, all aimed at bolstering their claim that the former private equity executive was a wealth-seeker who put investors’ interests ahead of the middle class.  Several of the campaign’s major, multi-state TV ad buys -- each of which have included Iowa -- have touched on the same theme.

Obama offered his most spirited attacks on Romney over his claims about the burgeoning federal debt and record-high deficits that have been incurred over the past three and a half years.

“They’ve got the nerve to go around saying that they’re somehow going to bring down the deficit,” he said, referring to Romney’s budget blueprint. “Economists who’ve looked at his plan say it would swell our deficits by trillions of dollars, even with the drastic cuts he’s called for [on] things like education, agriculture and Medicaid."

“He promises to do that on day one,” Obama added, referring to the new Romney TV ad by the same name.  “We don’t need that. That’s going backwards. We’re going forwards.”

“Forward” is Obama’s re-election campaign slogan.

Romney, on his most recent visit to Des Moines earlier this month, argued that Obama has presided over a “prairie fire of debt,” and told voters, “Every day we fail to act we feed that fire with our own lack of resolve.”

His campaign and the Republican National Committee have also stressed that during Obama’s first term, $5 trillion was added to the debt, which now exceeds $15.6 trillion.

“When you listen to President Obama’s campaign speeches, it’s as if he’s forgotten that he’s been president for nearly four years and has a record to defend. President Obama has proven beyond all doubt that he is not serious about fixing our country’s spending problem,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams.

Offering a rebuttal Thursday night, Obama said that his administration has taken fiscal issues seriously, attributing high deficits to the “depth of the recession.” He said Romney’s claims were divorced from reality.

“I know Gov. Romney came to Des Moines last week worried about a ‘prairie fire of debt.’ That’s what he said: ‘Prairie fire,’” Obama said. “But, you know, he left out some facts. His speech was more like a cow-pie distortion.”

“I don’t know whose record he twisted the most, mine or his,” he added.

Obama argued that the pace of federal government spending during his tenure has been the slowest of any president in 60 years.

“By the way, it’s like the Republicans run up the tab and then we’re sitting there and they’ve left the restaurant,” he said. “Why did you order all those steaks and martinis?”

The president said Romney’s budget -- which includes new tax cuts for wealthier Americans -- would not be the deficit slayer he claims it would be.

“Oh, by the way, something else he hasn’t told you is how he’d pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut,” Obama said.  “That’s like trying to put out a prairie fire with some gasoline.”

Obama claims his plan would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years through a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Camp, RNC to Focus on Obama's Broken Promises

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee plan to jointly push a message this week that focuses on President Obama’s promises on cutting the national deficit and reducing the debt.

“President Obama has broken his promise over and over when it comes to reining in Washington’s out of control spending,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.  “During the campaign, he lambasted the growing debt and, once elected, he pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.  Yet, President Obama’s record has been to double-down on Washington’s out of control spending by running trillion dollar deficits every year he’s been in office."

The RNC is honing in on three key arguments:

-- “Obama saw danger in adding to the debt saying it would lead to a double dip recession, but has since become the ‘undisputed debt king of the past five presidents.’”

-- “Obama promised to cut the deficit in half, but racked up the three highest deficits in history.”

-- “Obama refused to address entitlement reform for political reasons and chose to kick the can down the road instead.”

They are releasing a new web video Monday morning titled Empty Promises: Debt and Deficits,” as well as a lengthy research piece entitled Not On His Watch: Obama Has Avoided Making ‘The Hard Decisions’ On The Debt, Leaving The Situation Worse After Almost Four Years Under His Watch.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich $4 Million in Debt; Staffers and Creditors Fume

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newt Gingrich ends his White House dream Wednesday with his political committee facing a mountain of debts, owing about $4 million to scores of businesses and campaign workers around the country who fear they will never get paid.

Campaign watchdogs said the size of Gingrich's debt is extraordinary and could have been avoided if the candidate and his team had been more disciplined.

"He was reckless in running up these bills, especially in the last month or so of the campaign when it was quite clear that Mitt Romney would be the nominee," said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog group Citizen Union.

The campaign has been dogged by financial problems since last summer but its cash crunch accelerated in recent weeks. It finished March with $4.3 million in debts, an alarming increase from $1.5 million at the end of February, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The campaign raised $1.6 million in March, spent $2 million and reported having $1.2 million cash on hand.

Help may be on the way, however. USA Today reports that Gingrich, in an interview, said he is embracing Mitt Romney's candidacy, and Romney and the Republican National Committee have offered to be helpful in retiring Gingrich's debt.

Relief can't come soon enough for the Gingrich campaign's anxious creditors. The campaign owes Moby Dick Airways $1.1 million for travel and charter flights.; the Patriot Group, a Virginia security company, $449,502 for helping to protect the candidate; and McKenna, Long and Aldridge, a law firm with offices in Atlanta, $183,658 for legal services, the reports show.

But many of the campaign's creditors are small businesses that say they will suffer major hardship if they are not paid.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a company called Pro-Production Services is owed $32,506 for providing stages, lighting and sound equipment for a series of campaign appearances by Gingrich in Nevada last January.

"We floated quite a bit of money, a lot of out-of-pocket costs that we covered," said Ryan Driscoll, a project manager for the company. "I am a little worried. Nobody wants to lose 32 grand."

Vic Buttermore, owner of Signs Unlimited in Ocala, Fla., says he's "keeping my fingers crossed" the Gingrich campaign will pony up the $15,000 it still owes for an order of 25,000 "Newt 2012" lawn signs

"Am I nervous? Oh yeah, by all means," he said. "They keep telling us, 'We've got you covered, you will be paid.' But I have my doubts. I really do. That's a lot of money for a small company."

Moshe Starkman of Chevy Chase, Md., is among the dozens of frustrated former campaign staffers waiting for back pay. Starkman, who helped the campaign build grassroots support, is owed for more than three months of work.

Gingrich told ABC News on April 10 that his "management team got very excited in Florida" and went on a spending spree hoping to beat Romney in Florida's Jan. 31 primary. Romney went on to beat Gingrich 46 percent to 32, a turning point in the campaign.

None of the other former Republican presidential candidates are as deeply in the red as Gingrich's campaign. Michele Bachmann's campaign has about $1 million in outstanding obligations, Rick Santorum owes $1.9 million and Rick Perry has only $14,463 to pay off.

Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race owing $435,542, but Romney's campaign helped him raise money to retire the debt in return for Pawlenty's endorsement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


House to Vote Friday on 1-year Extension of Student Loan Rate

TOBY JORRIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that the House of Representatives will vote Friday to extend the current student loan interest rate of 3.4 percent for one year, just months before current law is set to double the rate, but the House GOP would do it by taking money away from the president’s health reform law.

President Obama on Wednesday wrapped a two-day campaign swing through battleground states where he focused on the need to extend the lowered loan rates. He got support from Mitt Romney, but Republicans in the House insist that the $6 billion cost of lowering the rates is offset and not added to the deficit.

“We will pay for this by taking money from one of the slush funds in the president’s health care law,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said as he explained how the cost of the bill would be paid for. “This is this prevention of public health slush fund that was put into the bill by one of the senators from Iowa, I believe.”

Where would the money for continued low student loan rates come from? The Prevention and Public Health Fund, as it will be formally titled, was established in the Affordable Care Act for prevention, wellness, and public health activities authorized in the Public Health Service Act. It is administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with the secretary owning full discretion on how to distribute funds from that account.

A senior GOP explained that the Student Interest Rate Reduction Act would take back some funds from the provision and apply them as a stopgap measure. Five billion dollars has already been used from fund to pay for the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extended the payroll tax credit and unemployment insurance.

Boehner blamed Democrats for passing the law in 2007 when they controlled both chambers of Congress, and questioned why the president is working to make the interest rate a campaign issue, considering both Republicans and Democrats agree that the rate should not go up.

“Back in 2007, Democratic-controlled Congress put in place a law that would double student loan interest rates this year, and Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the aisle here at the Capitol have long agreed that this was a problem that must be addressed,” he said. “This week the president’s traveling the country on the taxpayer’s dime, campaigning, and trying to invent a fight where there isn’t one. And never has been one on this issue of student loans. We can and will fix the problem without a bunch of campaign-style theatrics.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Courts Young Voters With Student Loan Appeal

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Wooing the young voters crucial to his re-election, President Obama Tuesday launched a passionate campaign-style appeal to students as he pressed lawmakers to prevent the cost of college from rising.

Speaking to a rowdy crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the president said he understands the financial burdens students face. “Michelle and I, we’ve been in your shoes,” Obama said. “We didn’t come from wealthy families.  When we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt.  When we married, we got poorer together.”

While the president did not call out the presumptive GOP nominee by name, he drew a sharp contrast between his background and that of Mitt Romney, who comes from a wealthier family. “This is something Michelle and I know about firsthand,” Obama said. “I didn’t just read about this....I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this.”

“Check this out, all right?  I’m the president of the United States.  We only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago,” he said to laughter from the crowd of roughly 8,000. “That wasn’t that long ago.”

While young voters still overwhelmingly support the president -- Obama enjoys a substantial 60- to 34-percent lead over Romney -- their interest has waned since 2008.

According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 63 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds took a major interest in the election in 2008. Today, just 45 percent have the same level of interest in this presidential election.

Obama is spending Tuesday and Wednesday visiting three key battleground states to push for low-rate college loans, wooing young voters while targeting a financial burden that hits the middle class and threatens the economic recovery.

In North Carolina, Obama urged lawmakers to extend a 2007 law that cut student loan rates to 3.4 percent. If Congress does not act, interest rates will double to 6.8 percent on July 1.

“For each year that Congress doesn’t act, the average student with these loans will rack up an additional thousand dollars in debt,” the president said. “That’s basically a tax hike for more than 7 million students across America, more than 160,000 students here in North Carolina alone.”

Obama is expected to make a similar argument at stops in Colorado and Iowa.

While Romney has come out in support of the extension, the president targeted Republican lawmakers who oppose the measure. “Republicans who run Congress right now have not yet said whether or not they’ll stop your rates from doubling.  We’re two months away,” Obama said, asking those watching to call, email or tweet their members of Congress.

The White House maintains the president’s trip this week is purely official business, but it was hard to ignore Obama’s campaign cadence as he riled up what appeared to be a largely supportive crowd.

“The fact is that since most of you were born, tuition and fees at America’s colleges have more than doubled. That forces students like you to take out a lot more loans.  There are fewer grants.  You rack up more debt.  Can I get an amen?” the president asked.

“Amen!” the crowd cheered.

“The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $25,000 in student loan debt.  That’s the average.  Some are more.  Can I get an amen for that?” Obama asked again.

“Amen!” the students replied.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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