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Entries in Debt Ceiling (98)

Sunday
Feb032013

Sen. Harry Reid: Any Budget Deal Must Include Revenue

ABC/Martin H. Simon(NEW YORK) -- Asserting that “the American people” are on his side, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said during an exclusive interview for “This Week” that any that deal reached between Republicans and Democrats to avoid the looming sequester must — “without any question” – include revenue.

“The American people are on our side. The American people don’t believe in these austere things. We believe that the rich should contribute. We believe we should fill those tax loopholes — get rid of them, I should say. And that’s where we need to go,” Reid said. “And I’ve got a pretty good fan base for that: the American people. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.”

Reid confirmed his position on revenue would apply to any deal put into place to avert a government shutdown or lift the debt ceiling as well. This puts him directly at odds with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, who said earlier this month on “This Week” that the ”tax issue is finished.” But Reid — invoking the GOP’s 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney — suggested a deal could include such things as the elimination of oil and gas subsidies, or what he called “low hanging fruit.” The Nevada senator also pushed back when asked if he was sidelined during the so called “fiscal cliff” negotiations, saying he played the “bad cop” during that period.

Reid was also asked about comprehensive immigration reform, which has moved to the front of the president’s legislative agenda for his second term. Reid expressed confidence that legislation would pass the Senate, adding that it would be a “bad day” for Republicans and America if it did not. When asked if certain parts of the legislation — such as the definition of border security or how gays are treated under the bill — could mean Republicans might not want to sign on, Reid called them “excuses.”

“It’s certainly gonna pass the Senate. And it would be a bad day for our country and a bad day for the Republican Party if they continue to [stand] in the way of this,” he said. “If they’re looking for an excuse not to support this legislation, this is another one. But the American people are past excuses. They want this legislation passed.”

On legislation aimed at curbing gun violence following the murder of 20 children in Newtown, Conn. in December, Reid, who said he has “lots of guns” that he keeps for “sentimental reasons,” said he wants to “get something done on guns” and expressed support for universal background checks. He said he’d consider other proposals such as limiting gun magazine capacity and said he’d “take a look” at the ban on assault weapons, which Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., strongly supports. Reid added that the influential NRA would not single-handedly prevent action to prevent gun violence.

“I’ve been supported by the NRA on occasion. I know Wayne LaPierre, he’s always been extremely pleasant to me. We have a good relationship. So, I am not here to demean the organization,” he said. “Just because they resist it doesn’t mean we can’t do things.  I mean– we have a lotta special interest groups that come and complain about things…we’ll listen to them and make the right decision.

Lastly, Reid stood by Sen. Bob Menendez  he was asked about recent allegations against the New Jersey senator involving a political donor. Reid said he was comfortable with Menendez serving as chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee while he was being investigated.

“He was a leader in the House.  He’s been a leader in the Senate.  He’s chairman of that committee.  He’ll do a wonderful job.  And he’s also an integral part of what we do with immigration reform.  So, I have the utmost confidence in him,” he said. “I have confidence he did nothing wrong.  But that’s what investigations are all about.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan242013

Debt Ceiling Vote: Who Crossed Party Lines in the House?

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House vote on extending the debt ceiling for three months was one of the more truly bipartisan votes we’ve seen in a while.

A significant number of Republicans -- 33 of them -- voted against the bill put forward by their party’s leadership.  And an even more significant number of Democrats -- 86 of them -- voted for the measure.

So, who crossed party lines?  Predictably, most of the Republican "no" votes came from those on the far right who opposed just about any suggestion of raising the debt ceiling (Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Paul Broun of Georgia, etc.), and the Democratic "yes" votes included moderates from Republican-leaning districts (Jim Matheson of Utah, Ron Barber from Gabrielle Giffords‘ former Arizona district, etc.).

But, take a look at the full list of those who crossed party lines.  Not all the names are as predictable as you might think:

REPUBLICANS VOTING NO:


Amash, Bachmann, Bridenstine, Brooks (AL), Broun (GA), Collins (GA), DesJarlais, Duncan (TN), Gingrey (GA), Gohmert, Heck (NV), Herrera, Beutler, Hudson, Huelskamp, Jones, King (IA), King (NY), McClintock, Mullin, Neugebauer, Pearce, Petri, Poe (TX), Posey, Rohrabacher, Salmon, Sensenbrenner, Stockman, Turner, Williams, Yoho.

DEMOCRATS VOTING YES:


Barber, Bera (CA), Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Braley (IA), Brownley (CA), Bustos, Butterfield, Capps, Carney, Castor (FL), Castro (TX), Cicilline, Connolly, Cooper, Costa, Courtney, Cuellar, DeFazio, Delaney, DelBene, Deutch, Doggett, Duckworth, Enyart, Esty, Foster, Gallego, Garamendi, Green, Hahn, Heck (WA), Higgins, Himes, Hinojosa, Horsford, Israel, Keating, Kilmer, Kind, Kirkpatrick, Kuster, Langevin, Lewis, Lipinski, Loebsack, Lowenthal, Lujan, Grisham (NM), Lynch, Maffei, Maloney, Sean, Markey, Matheson, McCarthy (NY), McIntyre, McNerney, Meng, Michaud, Moran, Murphy (FL), Neal, Nolan, O’Rourke, Owens, Pastor (AZ), Peters (CA), Peterson, Polis, Quigley, Rahall, Ruiz, Ruppersberger, Schneider, Schrader, Scott, David, Sewell (AL), Sinema, Takano, Tierney, Titus, Tonko, Tsongas, Vela, Visclosky, Walz, Waxman.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

Sen. John Cornyn: ‘We Will Raise the Debt Ceiling’

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Cornyn is one of a number of Republicans who have suggested that a partial government shutdown might be necessary in the coming months as Republicans and Democrats spar over a trio of deadlines -- the debt ceiling, funding the government and dealing with automatic spending cuts.

But in an interview with the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle, Cornyn said the debt ceiling, at least, would be raised.

“We will raise the debt ceiling.  We’re not going to default on our debt,” Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle editorial board.  “I will tell you unequivocally, we’re not going to default.”

Earlier this month, in the same paper, Cornyn pointed in an op-ed column to the trio of pending deadlines, including the debt ceiling, and suggested that a partial government shutdown might be in order to bring Washington spending in line.

“The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington.  It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain,” Cornyn wrote on Jan. 4.

The Chronicle apparently asked Cornyn if his statement Thursday represented a change of position and the senator said the op-ed was a negotiating tactic.

“You sometimes try to inject a little doubt in your negotiating partner about where you’re going to go, but I would tell you unequivocally that we’re not going to default,” he told the paper.

House lawmakers, chiefly Rep. Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, have suggested a short-term raising of the debt ceiling.

President Obama has repeated over and over that he will not negotiate with Republicans on the issue of the debt ceiling.

“While I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up,” Obama said at a Jan. 14 White House news conference.

“We are not a deadbeat nation,” he said.  “The consequences of us not paying our bills would be disastrous.”

Lawmakers have until the end of February to raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt limit.  Whether or not that occurs in tandem with efforts to fund the government and avert the spending cuts remains to be seen.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan132013

White House Denies Call for Trillion-Dollar Coin to Avoid Debt Ceiling

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration has killed any notion of minting trillion-dollar platinum coins to solve the nation’s debt ceiling woes.

In a written statement released Saturday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says there are only “two options” to deal with the looming need for the U.S. government to pay creditors for federal funding it has already spent. Minting the proposed currency to pay it off and avoid an impending battle with Capitol Hill is not one of them.

“Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default,” he writes.

Carney blames Congressional Republicans for having “played politics” during the last negotiations over the country’s borrowing limit in summer 2011. The stalled talks resulted in a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard and Poor’s.

“The President and the American people won’t tolerate Congressional Republicans holding the American economy hostage again simply so they can force disastrous cuts to Medicare and other programs the middle class depend on while protecting the wealthy,” the statement reads. “Congress needs to do its job.”

The Treasury Department has been staving off the ceiling using accounting tricks for months — most recently on Dec. 31. But with no comprehensive solution reached during the recent “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, a brewing fight on how to deal with the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit is set for the late winter.

The coin proposal has floated around academia and economic policy circles for some time, but gained traction after the cliff ordeal, when it was taken up by cheeky monetary wonks and some members of the progressive left.

The idea follows that should Congress fail to extend the debt limit, Treasury could begin minting trillion dollar coins (in a process explained mostly seriously by Jim Pethokoukis on his American Enterprise Institute blog), a number of which could then be put toward fulfilling debt obligations in the event new legislation stalls in Congress. The Federal Reserve would hold the hefty currency until it was time to pay the bills.

While there are laws in place to regulate how much paper, gold, silver or copper currency can be circulated by the government, there is nothing so clearly stated when it comes to platinum.

The White House statement comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democrats urged the president to “take any lawful steps” to avoid default — “without Congressional approval, if necessary.” In response, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell railed against the notion in a written statement.

“Democrats are looking at everything from the ridiculous (printing a trillion-dollar coin) to outright abdication of Congressional responsibility,” it reads. “But avoiding this problem will only make it worse.”

The idea to mint the coins as a way around the federal debt ceiling won a high profile advocate Friday when Pulitzer Prize winning economist Paul Krugman used his New York Times column to say “Mint the coin!”

But a senior administration official told ABC News there was one key factor in making that course of action impossible: The Federal Reserve said it would not view the coin as viable.

“Since they wouldn’t view the coin as viable, the issue isn’t not wanting to do the coin. We just can’t,” the White House official said.

In other words, the scheme favored by folks like Krugman just would not work.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

White House Won’t Rule Out $1 Trillion Coin Option

Anthony Bradshaw/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Wednesday would not flatly rule out the possibility of minting $1 trillion coins as a means for the Obama administration to pay its debt if Congress fails to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

“There is no Plan B. There is no backup plan. There is Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills of the United States,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the daily briefing.

Asked if the administration would fully rule out the coin idea, Carney deflected saying, “You could speculate about a lot of things.”

“Nothing needs to come to these kinds of…speculative notions about how to deal with a problem that is easily resolved by Congress doing its job, very simply,” he added.

Pressed further by ABC News’ Jon Karl on why the White House won’t offer a clear answer on the subject, Carney referred all questions to the Treasury Department.

“I answered it thoroughly,” he later joked. “And I have no coins in my pocket.”

If Congress fails to extend the U.S. debt limit, President Obama could ask the Treasury to begin printing the $1 trillion coins, which could then be used to fulfill the nation’s debt obligations.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan072013

Pelosi Suggests More Revenue Raising on the Way

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- If Republicans believe the issue of raising revenue is over because a fiscal cliff compromise deal was passed, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that GOP lawmakers have another thing coming to them.

Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, the California Democrat was insistent that the White House and Democrats aren't done trying to produce more revenue even as a huge fight looms over what spending cuts will be necessary to bring down the enormous national debt.

Pelosi said President Obama was initially seeking $1.6 trillion in additional revenue and eventually settled for $1 trillion less through the end of Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  She believes that closing tax loopholes and deductions would also help bring in more revenue.

As for what cuts to make to entitlements, Pelosi argued against trimming benefits to Social Security beneficiaries or raising the eligibility age for Medicare.

Disagreements with Republicans are setting the stage for another giant struggle over raising the debt ceiling, which the GOP says should be balanced with an equal amount of spending reductions.

Pelosi's solution?  She called on the president to invoke the 14th Amendment that would presumably allow him to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally without interference from Congress and thus avoiding default on U.S. debt.

However, it's a move that could be legally challenged and might even raise the specter of impeachment since some would charge Obama with acting in a dictatorial fashion.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec072012

Sen. McConnell to Use Debt Ceiling as Leverage in 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is accusing President Obama of wanting to "spend to his heart's content."

That's why the Kentucky Republican said on Thursday that he and other GOP lawmakers are planning to use the debt ceiling as leverage in their ongoing debate with the White House over how to best avert the looming fiscal cliff.

While Obama said previous fights over the debt ceiling almost pushed the country to the brink of financial collapse during the summer of 2011, McConnell maintained, "The American people want Washington to get spending under control, and the debt limit is the best tool we have to make the president take that demand seriously."

McConnell also dismissed an analogy made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Republicans are in the same confused state as the New York Jets over who to appoint as starting quarterback.

Firing back, McConnell said, "The quarterback on the Democratic side is the president of the United States.  And unfortunately, he keeps throwing interceptions."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec052012

Obama to Address Raising Debt Ceiling as Part of 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In remarks at the Business Roundtable on Wednesday, President Obama for the first time will highlight the need to raise the debt ceiling as part of a "fiscal cliff" deal.

"The president will highlight why it would hurt our economy and our nation’s businesses if we do not find a solution to avoid another debt ceiling crisis, and will ask the business leaders for their help in supporting an approach that resolves the debt limit without drama or delay," a White House official said, according to Politico.

The White House on Tuesday made clear that raising the nation's debt limit should be part of a deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff.

“We're not going to negotiate over what is a fundamental responsibility of Congress, which is to pay the bills that Congress incurred,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
 
“It should be part of the deal.  It should be done.  And it should be done without drama. We cannot allow our economy to be held hostage again to the whims of an ideological agenda.  We are the United States of America.  We are the greatest economy on earth.  We pay our bills.  We always have,” he added.

The president will deliver remarks and take questions from business leaders at the quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable Wednesday morning.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May182012

Marco Rubio Warns of ‘Daily’ Debt Ceiling Crisis

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Congress won’t have to vote again on raising the debt ceiling until next year, but Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., warned Thursday that the country is dealing with a “debt ceiling crisis on a daily basis” and suggested that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s claim that a debt ceiling crisis does not currently exist is itself a problem.

Republicans on Capitol Hill and President Obama reached an agreement last year to raise the ceiling, and won’t have to fight that legislative battle again until after the November election.

But Rubio, a favorite of the Tea Party who is often mentioned as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, said the nation should view the debt more immediately -- and every day.

“We are having a debt ceiling crisis on a daily basis, and here’s why,” Rubio said on Fox.  ”Because this government every year is spending $1.5 trillion more than it takes in.”

“When is the United States federal government and when is this president going to begin to seriously address the fact that this is a government that spends $1.5 trillion a year more than it takes in?  That has to be dealt with.  That is not going to solve itself.  It’s not going to go away on its own.  And every year that goes by that it remains unresolved, the harder it becomes to solve,” he said.

But how to solve the problems is controversial to say the least.  Obama pledged after a meeting Wednesday to protect entitlement spending.  House Speaker John Boehner has said any rise in the debt ceiling must be off-set by a greater number of spending cuts.

Most Republicans have pledged not to raise taxes.  But some Democrats on Capitol Hill have targeted people like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes on the money he will make from Facebook’s initial public offering.

Rubio said he wasn’t going to celebrate Saverin’s decision, but he added that high tax rates also lead companies to move business out of the U.S., suggesting he would oppose any law directed at Saverin and people like him.

“I’m not going to celebrate what he’s done or the decision that he’s made.  We were elected to deal with the big issues, not one guy, and the bigger issue here is that the U.S. is becoming a less and less friendly place for some people to do business,” Rubio said.  “People are looking to move their companies and their assets overseas because of that.  So, I think that’s really the issue we should focus on more.  I’m not excusing what he’s done.  I’m not celebrating it.  I’m not telling you I’m happy about what I’ve read with regard to this one person and the decision that he’s made.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Boehner Presses Obama for Presidential Plan to Avert Fiscal Crisis

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As congressional leaders prepare to meet with President Obama at the White House on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner said he will urge the president to put forward his own ideas to deal with a range of economic obstacles staring down lawmakers later this year.

“It’s time for us to deal with the big issues that are affecting our country and our society,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.  “We’ve spent enough time playing small ball.”

Closed-door negotiations to reach a “grand bargain” between Obama and Boehner to deal with the debt and the deficit failed last year, but the problems have not gone away.  Congress is expected to raise the debt ceiling sometime after the November election.

Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will all join Obama for a meeting in the president’s private dining room on Wednesday to discuss their legislative priorities.

The speaker told reporters that he will push the president to present his own alternatives to extend the current tax rates, replace the defense sequester and rein in the country’s debt.

“Where is the president’s plan to tackle our looming debt crisis?” Boehner asked.  “Where’s the president’s plan to stop the largest tax increase in American history from occurring on Jan. 1?  Where is the president’s plan to replace these indiscriminate cuts to our military, which will devastate their ability to keep America secure?”

Despite ratcheting up the rhetoric that’s critical of the president over the past month, such as complaining that Obama has diminished the office of the presidency, the speaker said he expects a productive conversation with the president.

“It’s not a personal issue.  The president and I, as you well know, we get along fine,” he said.  “But he has issues with what I believe and frankly I’ve had some issues about what he believes in.”

Boehner said that the debt crisis “is standing in the way of a lot of employers hiring new people” because “no one knows what the tax rates are going to be in January,” when numerous provisions are set to expire.

“[The tax code] causes business people and investors to sit on their hands because the picture is uncertain, and then when it comes to what’s going to happen to our military with these cuts in January, you can imagine that there are a lot of people concerned,” the speaker said.  “The defense secretary has made clear that these cuts will devastate our ability to keep our country safe.  The White House has admitted that these cuts will have a devastating impact on our military, so where is their plan?  It’s as simple as that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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