Entries in Jacob Lew (2)


WH Chief of Staff Errs on Senate Budget Rules

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama prepares to unveil his FY2013 budget Monday, White House chief of staff Jack Lew was asked by CNN Sunday morning to defend the Senate’s refusal to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days.

“You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support,” Lew said. “So unless… unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, [Majority Leader] Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”

That’s not accurate. Budgets only require 51 Senate votes for passage, as Lew -- former director of the Office of Management and Budget -- should know.

White House officials did not dispute that Lew misspoke. When asked about the discrepancy, a White House official said “the chief of staff was clearly referencing the general gridlock in Congress that makes accomplishing even the most basic tasks nearly impossible given the Senate Republicans’ insistence on blocking an up or down vote on nearly every issue.”

The issue highlights the difficulty the White House is having running against an obstructionist Congress when half of that Congress is controlled by Democrats, who obstruct things for their own reasons. In this case, political observers believe Reid is reluctant to have Democrats vote on a large budget full of deficits and tax increases that Republicans can use to run against them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jacob Lew and Jon Kyl: Differences Over Taxes, Spending Still Hold Back Budget Talks

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While budget negotiations continue to try to reach an agreement before the Aug. 2 deadline, differences over taxes and spending continue to hold back progress on a final deal.

But White House budget director Jacob Lew says he believes an agreement will be reached before the country is at risk of defaulting on its debt obligations.

"I do not believe that responsible leaders in Washington will force this to default," Lew told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "I think that all the leaders of Congress and the president have acknowledged that we must raise the debt limit, and the question is how."

"I think that what we face now is not a challenge of do we have time. It's a question of do we have the will," Lew added. "The president has shown through his leadership that we must take action, we must take it now."

Lew said there are still "multiple tracks" being debated, including efforts by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a fallback agreement to give President Obama authority to raise the debt ceiling without enacting major spending cuts.

"The minimum is I believe that the debt will be extended," Lew said. "I think notwithstanding the voices of a few who are willing to play with Armageddon, responsible leaders in Washington are not."

"I think the question is do we do more than that," Lew added. "Do we also do as much as we can to reduce the deficit and provide some assurance that we're taking seriously the fiscal problems this country faces?"

The White House budget director said that to reach a larger agreement, raising taxes on the wealthy has to be a component.

"In order to get the kinds of structural reforms that will be needed in the long run, there has to be a balanced package that taxes -- revenues -- as well as spending on the table," Lew said. "It's not fair to ask senior citizens to pay a price, to ask families paying for their college educations for their children to pay a price, but to leave the most privileged out of the bargain."

But Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) maintained the Republican position that raising taxes should not be part of the final deal, and that spending remains the larger problem.

"Unless the president gets off his absolute obsession with raising taxes, Republicans are not going to agree to do anything that will harm our economy," Kyl told Amanpour. "And job killing taxes will harm our economy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio