Entries in Debt (81)


Newt Gingrich Utah Primary Check Bounces

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may not appear on the ballot for the June 26 Utah primary, after a $500 check -- the required filing fee -- bounced, an official said.

State election director Mark Thomas told ABC News that a $500 check given by the Gingrich campaign to secure his place on the Utah ballot bounced on March 27.

“Our office immediately attempted to contact the campaign and the designated agent but no phone calls were returned,” Thomas said. “We also asked the state Republican Party to assist us, but they also could not get into communication with them, although I do not know how they attempted to contact them.”

One source close to the campaign told ABC News that the Gingrich campaign recently changed finance and accounting staff. The designated agent who filed the paperwork for the campaign was Wallace Woodruff “Woody” Hales, though Hales still works for the Gingrich campaign.

If the fee is not paid by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified from the ballot.

“Our office certifies the candidates to the county clerks on April 24,” Thomas said.

The check bounce comes as no surprise as Gingrich confirmed a debt of almost $4.5 million to ABC News on Tuesday. The last Federal Election Commission report from February showed a debt of less than $2 million.

Gingrich told ABC News Tuesday that the debt increase was because the campaign got “very excited in Florida” after his South Carolina win.

“Romney spent $20 million in Florida in three weeks and I think some of our guys decided to try to match him and we didn’t have Wall Street,” Gingrich said. “I am going to spend some time paying it off. It is something I have done several times in my career.”

Gingrich said his campaign did “exactly what a conservative should do” who is in debt.

“We cut our expenses, we cut our staff, we are now in the process of paying it off but I think what happened is, they got really involved in the fight in Florida and didn’t stop and just say to themselves, ‘Wait a second.’ I can beat Mitt Romney in ideas, I can’t possibly compete with him in money,” Gingrich said.

On the day Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, Gingrich sent an email to supporters saying he was “the last conservative standing.” The campaign emailed to voters that the goal was to achieve 12,000 donations by midnight.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Shadowboxes Columnist George Will at Ohio Event

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(GAHANNA, Ohio) -- Vice President Joe Biden couldn’t explicitly go after the Republican presidential candidates during his town-hall meeting on college affordability Thursday in Gahanna, Ohio. It would have been unseemly to do so at an “official” White House event.

So Biden shadowboxed over the politics of reducing the burden of student debt -- something Obama campaign strategists have made a signature issue for 2012 -- with his favorite conservative newspaper columnist instead.

“I read George Will’s article -- George Will who I greatly respect. I think he’s the best conservative columnist out there,” Biden told a crowd of students and teachers at Gahanna Lincoln High School.

“George Will said, ‘All this stuff about reducing debt and making sure you don’t have to pay more than 10 percent of your disposable income in any one year.’ He said, ‘Look, the average college student, graduate will make on average, and does now, $20,000 a year more than a high school graduate. So why do they need the help?’”

“I guess he came from a different neighborhood,” Biden said.

“I’m not being facetious. He makes a good intellectual point. But it really is about the choices you get to make when you graduate. If you graduate with a large debt, you don’t get to make the choice to do the thing you may want to do.”

Biden suggested the federal government should reduce or forgive students’ debts so that jobs in traditionally low-paying, social interest jobs, such as nonprofits, education and social work, are not out of reach for some.

He touted the Obama administration’s recent initiative to cap monthly payments for some student borrowers at 10 percent of discretionary income, saying such a step will “restore the bargain that’s been broken” with the middle class. (He used similar language during a campaign webcast to New Hampshire voters on Tuesday night.)

“You should have a chance to pursue what you want to pursue,” Biden said.

Will’s column, from the Jan. 1, 2012, Washington Post, questioned the wisdom of such an approach to financing college education and said the administration’s “bailout of young and privileged borrowers” was a political ploy.

“Political logic suggests that this year Obama will try to rekindle the love of young voters with some forgiveness of student debts. But one-third of students do not borrow to pay college tuition,” Will wrote.

“The average debt for those who do borrow to attend a four-year public institution is $22,000 and the average difference between the per-year earnings of college graduates and those with only a high school diploma is...$22,000.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Super Committee ‘Painfully Aware’ of Nov. 23 Deadline

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reductions says that Democrat and GOP members continue to negotiate and “talk about new ideas” as the super committee makes the final sprint to next Wednesday’s deadline.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said that “If an agreement is not reached today, members of the Joint Select Committee, Democrats and Republicans, will meet through the weekend.”

“We are painfully, painfully aware of  the deadline that is staring us in the face,” Hensarling said at a hastily arranged press conference after Republican members met Friday morning. “We have 12 good people who have worked hard since this committee has been created to find sufficient common ground for an agreement that will simultaneously address both our nation’s jobs crisis and debt crisis, and clearly, when we have something more to report we will report.”

The three House Democrats on the panel -- Reps. Chris Van Hollen, James Clyburn and Xavier Becerra -- provided the House Democratic Caucus with an update on the talks. Van Hollen, D-Md., said that he told his Democratic colleagues that the committee is, “still making every effort to try to reach an agreement that is balanced.”

“[Balanced] meaning that there [are] tough cuts but also revenues for closing corporate tax loopholes, asking folks at the very top to pay a little more and that we’re still focused on trying to do something about jobs,” Van Hollen said. “We should leave no stone unturned.”

Sen. John Kerry is currently hosting a bipartisan meeting Friday in the Capitol with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. Democratic co-chair Sen. Patty Murray was the only Senate member of the committee not in attendance.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to get an agreement,” Baucus told reporters as he headed into the meeting. “[There's] lots of different meetings. It’s whatever works.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deficit Super Committee Interrupted by Protests

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Super Committee, held its first public meeting in more than a month and it didn’t take long to see why it may be more productive for the committee to deliberate privately rather than for it to hold open hearings.

As members of the committee took their seats around the dais and co-chair Sen. Patty Murray prepared to call the meeting to a start, a CodePink protester jumped out of his seat holding a sign.

“This committee is not democratic,” the demonstrator said. “I speak on behalf of the 99 percent who are occupied. We are the people who are not being heard by this committee.”

The man sat down and Murray called the committee to order, and reminded the audience not to demonstrate -- but she allowed him to stay.

About 90 minutes into the hearing, as CBO director Doug Elmendorf finished answering a question from Rep. Dave Camp, another demonstrator walked to the front of the room and stood next to the witness table as she called on the committee to “tax the rich and end the war.”

“That’s how we fix the deficit,” the woman said. “And all this obfuscation with percentages of GDP -- this is just trying to confuse the issue.”

The woman was arrested and pulled out of the room by U.S. Capitol Police officers. A spokeswoman for the department says the demonstrator was charged with unlawful conduct/disruption of Congress and is was processed at headquarters.

The rest of the hearing proceeded without a hitch as the committee discussed alternative methods to identify and count savings, analyzing discretionary outlays on security and non-security spending.

Elmendorf said that the economic impact of the country’s unsustainable fiscal path, “matters in short-run” in part due to borrowing the government has already committed, which he said could “crowd out private investment” and is compounded by uncertainty facing American families and small businesses.

Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman of the House committee on Energy and Commerce, asked Elmendorf for the latest date the Super Committee could provide a draft to the Congressional Budget Office in order to score the proposal and still leave enough time for the panel to vote prior to its Nov. 23 deadline.

Elmendorf warned the 12-member committee that time is running short.

“Our legion of skilled analysts are working very hard for this committee already,” Elmendorf said. “If you have a set of proposals that would make changes across a range of mandatory spending programs, then that would require us some weeks to work with legislative counsel and the staff of this committee in refining the legislative language to accomplish the objectives that your setting out to accomplish, and then for us to produce a cost estimate, and backing up from Thanksgiving, that left us looking at the beginning of November, which we are very aware, as you are Congressman, is not very far away.”

The committee will hold another open hearing Nov. 1, when the principal architects of two other deficit reduction proposals will testify. Alice Rivlin and former Sen. Pete Dominici will head the first panel while Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles will appear before the committee on a second panel to discuss their alternative packages for savings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Super Committee Co-Chairs in 'Serious Discussions' over Group's Operation

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The co-chairs of the super committee formed to reduce the federal debt issued a joint statement Wednesday saying that they have been in “serious discussions” on the rules of the Joint Committee’s operation, including setting up formal meeting times and that committee members are busy reviewing the deficit reduction work that others have worked on over the past years.
The co-chairs, Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Representative Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, say that during the August recess they have been “working together” to ensure that the committee has “every opportunity to succeed.”
“In our capacity as co-chairmen, we are engaging in serious discussions to determine what set of rules will govern the committee’s operation, examining a schedule of potential meetings and exploring how to build a committee staff that will help us achieve success,” the co-chairs write in a paper statement. “Additionally, most of the committee members are reviewing the deficit reduction work that many others have engaged in over the past several years.”
The co-chairs say they are “eager to engage one another as we begin our work,” although no formal meetings with the 12-member bipartisan super committee have been scheduled yet. Likely, the super committee will meet for the first time when the House and Senate is back in session after the Labor Day holiday, during the first week in September.
“We encourage our colleagues to participate in active and useful dialogue across the aisle and among our respective caucuses as we continue to work through this process.”
The committee has until Thanksgiving to come to an agreement on a plan to achieve a $1.5 trillion cut to the deficit over the next decade. If they do not, the trigger options, negotiated during the debt ceiling deal would take effect.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama's Weekly Address: 'Our Urgent Mission Has To Be Getting This Economy Growing'

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama urges Congress to work together to solve the nation's economic woes.

“Our urgent mission has to be getting this economy growing faster and creating jobs,” the president says. “Our job right now has to be doing whatever we can to help folks find work; to help create the climate where a business can put up that job listing; where incomes are rising again for people. We’ve got to rebuild this economy and the sense of security that middle class has felt slipping away for years.  And while deficit reduction has to be part of our economic strategy, it’s not the only thing we have to do.”

The president once again points to stalled measures in Congress that he says will spur economic growth, including extending the payroll tax credit, investing in infrastructure, passing patent reforms and extending unemployment insurance.

“Those are a few commonsense steps that would help the economy.  And these are ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the past.  So I’m going to keep calling on both parties in Congress to put aside their differences and send these bills to my desk so I can sign them right away,” Obama says.

“After all, both parties share power.  Both parties share responsibility for our progress.  Moving our economy and our country forward is not a Democratic or a Republican responsibility; it is our responsibility as Americans,” the president concludes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How the Pentagon Makes Out in the Debt Ceiling Deal

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On first glane it may appear that the $2.1 billion debt ceiling compromise hits the Pentagon’s budget pretty hard in the next decade, but the reality is that in the short term the $350 billion in defense cuts is smaller than what Pentagon officials had been fearing.

That being said, the deal also holds out the possibility that in the long term defense spending could be dramatically slashed if a bipartisan committee is unable to come up with an additional $1.2 trillion in savings by the end of this year.  

Earlier this year, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates carved out $400 billion in savings through 2015 thanks to an initiative to bring down overhead costs within the Defense Department.

But then In April, President Obama proposed the possibility of further security spending cuts totaling $400 billion over the next 12 years, with the bulk of that amount expected to come from the military budget. 

Now it appears the debt ceiling compromise could lead to smaller cuts than the Pentagon had been preparing. An administration official confirms that the $350 billion cuts in the base defense budget over the next 10 years replaces the proposed $400 billion in security cuts over 12 years that had been proposed in April.

But the $350 billion in defense cuts isn’t all going to come from the Pentagon as other government agencies also fall under the defense umbrella, so the real Pentagon component will actually be $330 billion. 

In an apples-to-apples comparison using the broader term of security cuts, the official notes that the deal actually calls for $420 billion in security cuts over 10 years versus the $400 billion over 12 years that were proposed in April. So that’s a little more than President Obama proposed in April, but in a shorter time frame.

The Pentagon will still have to make tough budget decisions even though it will have a smaller budget trimming target.  But the deal also holds out the prospect of a further drastic cut -- $500 billion in Defense spending -- that would be automatically triggered if a new bipartisan committee fails to come up with $1.2 trillion in additional savings by the end of this year. Critics have cried foul that such a deep cut would leave the U.S. military unprepared in an increasingly dangerous world.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition Won't Support New Debt Deal

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As Speaker Boehner struggles to round up the votes needed to pass the new debt ceiling deal in the House, a coalition of conservative groups and lawmakers have already rejected the proposal.

This statement by the conservative Cut, Cap and Balance coalition certainly won’t help him pick up any Tea Party hold-outs:

"We applaud the efforts of the Speaker and Minority Leader to craft a passable solution despite a Senate majority that valued politics over prosperity and a White House that never presented any solution to the problem.  However, the Cut, Cap, Balance Coalition will not support this bill because it clearly fails to meet the standards of the Cut Cap Balance Pledge...The most glaring shortcoming is that the second debt ceiling increase in this package isn’t tied directly to Congressional approval of a balanced budget amendment as a pre-condition.  It may therefore be avoided altogether."

The Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition is an organization of more than 100 conservative groups and several dozen lawmakers in both chambers who have called for passage of a balanced budget amendment in exchange for a vote to raise the country’s debt ceiling.

Copyrights 2011 ABC News Radio


President Announces Agreement on Debt Deal

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Faced with a looming economic crisis, the president announced Sunday evening in an address to the nation that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default.”

With just two days left to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, the president urged members of both parties to “do the right thing” and support the deal.

The agreement cuts roughly $1 trillion is spending over the next ten years and establishes a bipartisan committee to report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit, which will then be put before an up or down vote, according to the president.

The following is a portion of the press release outlining the agreement:

The debt deal announced today is a victory for bipartisan compromise, for the economy and for the American people. The agreement:

•    Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain.

•    Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students.

•    Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform.

•    Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;

•    Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nancy Pelosi Statement on Debt Deal

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty ImagesWASHINGTON -- Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement after the President's speech Sunday on the ongoing talks to avert a default crisis:

"We all agree that our nation cannot default on our obligations and that we must honor our nation's commitments to our seniors, and our men and women in the military.

"I look forward to reviewing the legislation with my Caucus to see what level of support we can provide."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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