Entries in Jack Lew (9)


Jack Lew: Detroit Will Have to ‘Work With Its Creditors’ to Resolve Bankruptcy

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- During an interview for ABC’s This Week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Detroit would have to deal with its creditors in order to resolve its recently-declared bankruptcy when he was asked about the possibility of a federal bailout for Motor City.

“Detroit’s economic problems have been a long time in developing. We stand with Detroit trying to work through how it approaches these issues,” Lew told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“To that extent that there are kind of normal relations between the federal government and state and local government — we’ve been using those methods.  Even in the Treasury Department, we have a program where we work to help with housing programs.  I think when it comes to the questions between Detroit and its creditors, that’s really something that Detroit is going to have to work out with its creditors,” he said.

The issue of a Detroit bailout has been a divisive one in Washington. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has issued tweets expressing his views on the subject, is dead set against it while the AFL-CIO has called for the federal government to provide Motown with assistance. Detroit’s mayor said “not yet” when Stephanopoulos asked him about the possibility of a bailout during their interview last Sunday.

During the interview, Stephanopoulos also asked Lew about a critical decision the president will have to make in the next few months — the choice of who should succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke when he leaves his post. Lew praised the current chairman, but declined to discuss his preference for who should replace him.

“I have to start by saying that Chairman Bernanke has been an extraordinary and remains an extraordinary Fed chairman,” Lew said. “I’m going to keep private any conversations that we’re having with the president on the question of when and what kind of succession there should be. I think that those conversations are best left in the privacy of the Oval Office.”

The fall showdowns over funding the government loom over Congress, and Stephanopoulos asked Lew if the current disagreement between Democrats and Republicans would lead to a government shutdown.

“It is imperative that Washington be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We can’t afford self-inflicted wounds and we can’t have these kinds of self-created crises month after month, year after year,” he said.

“And I think we’re going to be able to work through these issues.  And I certainly hope that Congress isn’t looking to create confrontations and false crises because we did see, in 2011, how bad that is for the American economy,” Lew added, referring to the fight over raising the debt ceiling two years ago that led in part to the subsequent lowering of the credit rating of the United States by Standard and Poor’s.

Asked about raising the debt ceiling in coming months, Lew said the president would not negotiate on the issue.

“The mere fact of negotiating over the debt limit, after 2011, would introduce this notion that somehow there’s a question about whether or not we’re going to pay our bills, whether or not we’re going to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” he said.

“Well, it’s not OK to default.  Congress can’t let us default.  Congress has to do its work,” Lew said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senate Confirms Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary 

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate confirmed former White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew as secretary of the Treasury Wednesday by a vote of 71-26.

President Obama nominated Lew to replace former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last month.  Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin served as acting secretary after Geithner left the post in late January.

“I am pleased that the Senate took bipartisan action today to confirm Jack Lew as our nation’s next Treasury Secretary,” said President Obama in a statement after the vote.  “At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack.”

Lew, 57, has served as Obama’s chief of staff since January 2012.  He previously served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under two presidents — Obama, from 2010 until he became chief of staff, and Bill Clinton, from 1998 to 2001.  Lew also dabbled in the private sector, serving as the chief operating officer of the Alternative Investment Unit at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008.

Lew made news early in the nomination process when reporters took note of his unusual loopy signature, a version of which will now appear on U.S. currency.  President Obama even poked fun at him at the time.

“I had never noticed Jack’s signature, and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him,” Obama joked.

“Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency.”

Wednesday’s confirmation was the second in as many days for the White House. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel was confirmed as secretary of defense on Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew's Nomination

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to approve Jack Lew’s nomination for secretary of the Treasury.

The approval came with a 19-5 vote.  All the "no" votes came from Republican senators -- John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Pat Roberts of Kansas.

A number of Republicans did vote in favor of Jack Lew’s nomination, including Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Rob Portman of Ohio, John Thune of South Dakota and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

President Obama nominated Lew to the post last month to replace former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Lew formerly served as Obama’s chief of staff.

The vote on Lew’s nomination now heads to the Senate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Denis McDonough to Be Obama's New Chief of Staff?

The White House | Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough is the likely choice to be President Obama’s next chief of staff, replacing Jack Lew, who has been nominated to be Treasury Secretary.

White House officials say the president has not made a final decision, but informed sources say they expect McDonough will be chosen.  

As ABC News reported last week, the other candidate under consideration has been Ron Klain, the former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden.

McDonough has been a top Obama foreign policy advisor since the early days of his 2008 presidential campaign.  He is one of those seen in the White House photo watching the Osama bin Laden raid unfold from the Situation Room with the president and his senior national security advisors.

For those counting, McDonough would be Obama’s fifth chief of staff. Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daly, Pete Rouse (interim) and Jack Lew all served in the same position.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. Jeff Sessions: Jack Lew Must ‘Never’ Be Treasury Secretary

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, declared Thursday that Jack Lew must “never” become secretary of the Treasury.

“To confirm Mr. Lew would be to acquiesce in a policy of dishonesty to the American people,” Sessions said.  "For me, no mea culpa, no excuse, can erase the errors of Mr. Lew.”

President Obama Thursday formally nominated Lew, the White House chief of staff, in the East Room of the White House, to replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Lew’s nomination now goes before the Senate for approval. Sessions became the first senator to vow to block Lew’s rise to Treasury secretary.

At issue, Sessions said, is what he called Lew’s “outrageous and false” testimony before the Senate Budget committee nearly two years ago. Sessions said the testimony should disqualify Lew from becoming Treasury secretary.

“To look the American people in the eye and make such a statement remains the most direct and important false assertion during my entire time in Washington,” Sessions said. “We need a secretary of Treasury that the American people, the Congress, and the world will know is up to the task of getting America on the path to prosperity, not the path to decline. Jack Lew is not that man.”

Obama Thursday called for the Senate to confirm Lew as quickly as possible.

“Jack has my complete trust,” Obama said. “In the words of one former senator, having Lew on your team is the equivalent, as a coach, of having the luxury of putting somebody in almost any position and knowing he will do well. And I could not agree more.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama to Name Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Thursday will name his current chief of staff, Jack Lew, to serve as the nation’s next treasury secretary, replacing Timothy Geithner, the White House announced.

“Jack Lew will bring an impressive record of service in both the public and private sectors for over three decades, and economic expertise, to this important role, and his deep knowledge of domestic and international economic issues will enable him to take on the challenges facing our economy at home and abroad on day one,” a White House official said.  “Throughout his career, Jack Lew has proven a successful and effective advocate for middle-class families who can build bipartisan consensus to implement proven economic policies.”

As chief of staff for the past year and budget director before that, Lew has been intimately involved in the negotiations with Congress on the debt ceiling, averting a government shutdown and the fiscal cliff.  It may be experience that will come in handy as he heads into several months of tough fiscal negotiations with congressional Republicans.

Officials familiar with the selection process said Lew was the only person under serious consideration to replace Geithner as treasury secretary.

A key factor in the president’s decision was Lew’s ability to get right to work on the first crises likely to face the next treasury secretary: the upcoming showdown with Congress over the debt ceiling, which will need to be raised in a matter of weeks, and automatic spending cuts set to take effect on March 2.

Lew’s experience as Bill Clinton’s budget director, when he helped craft a bi-partisan budget agreement that led to three years of budget surpluses, was also critical.

Lew also has private sector experience.  Before joining the Obama administration in 2009 as deputy secretary of state, he served as the chief operating officer of Citigroup’s Global Wealth Management and Alternative Investments divisions.

Obama will make the announcement in the East Room of the White House on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET, with Lew and Geithner at his side.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Alabama Senator Says Obama's Budget is 'Deliberately Misleading'

Photo Courtesy - Sessions [dot] Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Budget Committee’s top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions, ripped President Obama’s budget director, Jack Lew, on Tuesday for stating the administration’s new fiscal year 2012 budget proposal -- if enacted -- would mean that the nation would stop adding to its debt in the middle of the decade.

A day later, the Alabama senator is still fuming about the administration’s claims.

“They’re deliberately misleading the American people.  I hate to say that.  I’m talking about the president of the United States, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and then they come in with this cockamamie idea of some primary balance,” Sessions told ABC News in a phone interview.

That idea of primary balance was touted repeatedly by both Lew and the president in recent days. 

Here is the Administration's argument: “What my budget does is to put forward some tough choices, some significant spending cuts, so that by the middle of this decade our annual spending will match our annual revenues.  We will not be adding more to the national debt,” the president said at his Tuesday news conference at the White House.  “So, to use a -- sort of an analogy that families are familiar with, we're not going to be running up the credit card anymore.”

A short ways down Pennsylvania Avenue, Lew touted that claim time and time again in over five hours of hearings before the Congressional budget panels.

But Sessions believes that argument is “bogus.”

“If you go to the bank to borrow money, will you tell the banker about all your expenses except the interest on your automobile, the interest on your home, and the interest on the credit card, and that you can afford to make payments?  This is so basic as to be through the looking glass,” he said.

The Alabama Republican contends that the president’s argument is intended to mislead the American public.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this," he said, warning that it could poison future talks between Republicans and Democrats.  "It’s a matter of the ability to have an effective relationship with one another and if we can’t agree on what the numbers are, then we can’t have an effective communication.”

“If this were in court," Sessions railed, "the question would be did they intend to mislead the people who were hearing this.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


OMB Director on President Obama's Budget: 'A Lot of Pain'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- With President Obama's new budget predicting this year’s deficit will hit a record $1.6 trillion, U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew is admitting that we may never see the budget surpluses he left behind when last serving as budget director under Bill Clinton.

“I wish I could stand here and say that we were on the edge of a surplus.  When I left my last day in office I went to Congress and testified and projected $5.6 trillion surplus for the next ten years,” Lew told ABC News.  “I came back 10 years later to look at projections of over $10 trillion in debt over the next ten years.  It’s enough to break your heart.  It’s going to take us a lot of hard work just to get to the point where we are not adding to the debt.”

But Lew also insists that Obama’s budget will make a real difference -- and cause real pain.

“What I would tell you about this budget is it has a lot of does the job, it cuts the deficit in half by the end of the president’s first term, it has $400 billion of savings which would bring spending on domestic discretionary spending down to the level it was at in the Eisenhower administration and we have made tough choices,” he said.

Interestingly, Lew took a pass on criticizing the $61 billion in budget cuts House Republicans are hoping to pass this year.  And Lew made no apologies for failing to take on entitlements as recommended by the President’s own budget commission -- which detailed almost four times the deficit reduction in Obama’s budget.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senator to Block Obama's Nomination of Jack Lew

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu announced Thursday that she intends to block President Obama’s nomination of Jack Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget until the administration lifts or modifies the moratorium on deep-water oil and gas drilling.

“Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President’s most important economic advisors, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast,” the democratic senator wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The fact that the most acute of these economic challenges, the moratorium, results from a direct (and reversible) federal action only serves to harden my stance on Mr. Lew’s nomination.”

“I cannot support further action on Mr. Lew’s nomination to be a key economic advisor to the President until I am convinced that the President and his Administration understand the detrimental impacts that the actual and de facto moratoria continue to have on the Gulf Coast,” she said.

In May, in the wake of the BP oil spill, the Obama administration instituted a six-month ban on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Landrieu says the ban is causing job losses harmful to the region.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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