Entries in Timothy Geithner (13)


Chill Hits 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A chill has descended on Washington, D.C., just in time for Thursday night's lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

President Obama will preside over an evening festival of star-studded carols and sparkling displays of holiday cheer on the White House Ellipse.  But don't expect any of the holiday good will to warm the political frost over the "fiscal cliff" talks.

The White House is mandating that tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans must be part of any deficit-reduction deal with congressional Republicans, who stand equally opposed.  Negotiations have ground to a standstill.

"There's no prospect for an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2 percent of the wealthiest," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday.

He also said the administration is "absolutely" willing to allow the package of deep automatic spending cuts and across-the-board tax hikes to take effect on Jan. 1 if they don't get some increase in those tax rates.

Obama spoke by phone with House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, the first time both men had been in contact in one week.  On Monday, Boehner attended a White House holiday party but did not greet the president.

Republicans say Obama has fixated on tax hikes for the rich at the exclusion of entitlement program reforms to curb spending, which they are seeking as part of a "balanced" deal.

"The president talks about a balanced approach, but he's rejected spending cuts that he has supported previously and refuses to identify serious spending cuts he is willing to make today," Boehner said on Wednesday.  "This is preventing us from reaching an agreement."

As the showdown continues, Obama will take his tax argument on the road to Virginia, visiting the home of a middle class family to highlight the importance of lawmakers extending current, lower tax rates for 98 percent of U.S. earners.

Both parties agree they should be extended before they expire at the end of the year, but they remain tangled in the broader debate over spending cuts and upper-income tax rates.

The average American family of four would pay an estimated $2,200 more in taxes next year if the rates for middle-income earners are not extended.

Economists say a failure to resolve the standoff before Dec. 31 could thrust the U.S. economy back into a recession -- a prospect many Americans are also worried about, according to a new poll.

Fifty-three percent of voters say lawmakers' failure to avoid the "cliff" would be "bad for their personal financial situation," compared to just 13 percent who said it wouldn't, according to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The same poll found a majority -- 53 percent -- trusting Obama and Democrats more than Republicans to work out a deal in the deficit negotiations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Geithner: White House ‘Absolutely’ Willing to Go Off 'Fiscal Cliff'

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday said the Obama administration is “absolutely” prepared to go off the looming “fiscal cliff” if Republicans do not agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy.

Appearing on CNBC, Geithner was asked if the administration is willing to accept the impending spending cuts and tax increases if Republicans refuse to raise rates on the top 2 percent of income-earners as President Obama is demanding.

“Oh, absolutely,” Geithner replied.  “There’s no prospect for an agreement that doesn’t involve those rates going up on the top 2 percent of the wealthiest.”

“What we’re trying to do is put in place a comprehensive, balanced set of fiscal reforms that put us back on the path of living within our means,” he explained when asked why the administration would be willing to go off the cliff, which experts say could trigger a recession.

“The size of the problem in some sense is so large it can’t be solved without rates going up,” he added.

Despite the ongoing standoff between the White House and Capitol Hill, Geithner said Republicans are “making a little bit of progress” and appeared optimistic that a deal will be reached in time.

“I think there’s very broad recognition that rates are going to go up as part of a deal,” he said.  “I think there’s been some progress and I think we’re going to get there.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


John Boehner on 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks: 'You Can't Be Serious'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and his White House team appear to have drawn a line in the sand in talks with House Republicans on the "fiscal cliff."

Tax rates on the wealthy are going up, the only question is how much?

"Those rates are going to have to go up," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner flatly stated on ABC's This Week.  "There's no responsible way we can govern this country at a time of enormous threat, and risk, and challenge ... with those low rates in place for future generations."

But the president's plan, which Geithner delivered last week, has left the two sides far apart.

In recounting his response Sunday on Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner said: "I was flabbergasted.  I looked at him and said, 'You can't be serious.'

"The president's idea of negotiation is: Roll over and do what I ask," Boehner added.

Obama wants another $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years, including returning the tax rate on income above $250,000 a year to 39.6 percent.  

Boehner is offering half that, $800 billion.

In exchange, the president suggests $600 billion in cuts to Medicare and other programs.  House Republicans say that is not enough, but they have not publicly listed what they would cut.

Geithner said the ball is now in the Republicans' court, and the White House is seemingly content to sit and wait for Republicans to come around.

"They have to come to us and tell us what they think they need.  What we can't do is to keep guessing," he said.

The president is also calling for more stimulus spending totaling $200 billion for unemployment benefits, training and infrastructure projects.

"All of this stimulus spending would literally be more than the spending cuts that he was willing to put on the table," Boehner said.

Boehner also voiced some derision over the president's proposal to strip Congress of power over the country's debt level, and whether it should be raised.

"Congress is not going to give up this power," he said.  "It's the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone."

The so-called fiscal cliff, a mixture of automatic tax increases and spending cuts, is triggered on Jan. 1 if Congress and the White House do not come up with a deficit-cutting deal first.

The tax increases would cost the average family between $2,000 and $2,400 a year, which, coupled with the $500 billion in spending cuts, will most likely put the country back into recession, economists say.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


John Boehner, Timothy Geithner Report Little Progress on ‘Fiscal Cliff’

TOBY JORRIN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Negotiations between Congress and the White House over the “fiscal cliff” may be continuing in private this weekend, but on television airwaves the top Republican on Capitol Hill reported talks are still at an impasse.

“I would say we’re nowhere. Period,” House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview aired on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing. They’ve actually asked for more revenue than they’ve been asking for the whole entire time.”

It was on Thursday that party leadership admitted the little public movement seen on the issue had reached a standstill. Each side accuses the other of lacking “serious” proposals on how to avoid the mix of mandatory spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect on Jan. 1 if a federal budget agreement cannot be reached.

Boehner said the Democratic plan left him “flabbergasted” when it was delivered to him by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this week.

“I looked at him and said, ‘You can’t be serious.’ I’ve just never seen anything like it. You know, we’ve got seven weeks between Election Day and the end of the year. And three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense,” he said.

Hitting multiple networks this morning, Geithner told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that the ball was “absolutely” in the GOP’s court, attributing the row to posturing.

“I actually think that we’re going to get there. I mean, you know, just inevitably going to be a little political theater in this context,” the secretary said. “Sometimes that’s a sign of progress. I think we’re actually making a little bit of progress, but we’re still some distance apart.”

A major sticking point in negotiations continues to be Democrats’ proposal to let the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, while leaving those same breaks in place for lower income brackets. Households earning more than $250,000 a year would see their income tax increase from 36 percent to 39.6 percent on income above that amount.

“There’s just no reason why 98 percent of Americans have to see their taxes go up because some members of Congress on the Republican side want to block tax rate increases for 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans,” Geithner said. “Remember, those tax rates, those tax cuts, cost a trillion dollars over 10 years.”

Since allowing those tax breaks to expire was a central tenet of President Obama’s reelection campaign, Fox’s Chris Wallace asked Boehner whether that signaled Republicans should yield the point.

“Listen, what’s the difference where the money comes from?” Boehner responded. “We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he’s asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates.”

Boehner maintained his party’s stance that other portions of the White House proposal were unbalanced, including $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years coupled with $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts over the same time period. Another measure would give the executive branch authority to determine the debt ceiling unless countered by two-thirds of Congress, which Boehner said was “silliness.”

“Congress is never going to give up this power,” he said.

Rep. Tom Cole, deputy House GOP whip, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning on “This Week” that he believes Republicans do not need to counter Obama’s offer with a formal plan.

“I don’t think we need to put a formal proposal out on the table,” Cole said. “The speaker has already said that revenue is on the table. We have an idea of how to get there in terms of not raising rates but finding another way through the tax code and reform.

“Beyond that we’ll see how negotiations go,” added Cole, who broke ranks with his party last week by calling for immediately extending middle class tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama Prepares for Cabinet Shuffle

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama prepares for his second term, preparations have begun for the traditional shuffling of the Cabinet.

The top priority for the president is filling the slots for those top officials heading for the door: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

To replace Clinton, Democratic insiders suggest that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice is the frontrunner, with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., also a viable candidate.

Rice has been harshly criticized by Republicans for the erroneous comments she made on Sunday news talk shows after the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya -- comments that were based on intelligence reports that falsely blamed the attack on a protest against an anti-Muslim video.  When Obama, during his recent press conference, offered a vociferous defense of Rice, many of those close to him began to suspect he was tipping his hand as to what he might decide.

To replace Geithner at Treasury, White House chief of staff Jack Lew is thought to have the inside track if he wants it, with other possibilities including Neal Wolin, the current deputy secretary of the Treasury, and Lael Brainaed, current under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs.

Other informed sources suggest that there is consideration being given to a business/CEO type such as investor Roger Altman, former Time/Warner chair Richard Parsons, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

Any of the business/CEO types being discussed for treasury secretary could also serve as secretary of commerce.  Jeff Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management & Budget, is said to be under consideration.

Informed sources say that -- with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also planning on leaving -- Kerry could be offered the position if he wants it, though the Massachusetts senator has suggested he only wants State.  Another option, Michelle Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense for policy, would be the first female to serve in that position.

There was some discussion of National Security Adviser Tom Donilon moving across the river, but it seems clear, sources say, that he’s staying where he is.

If Lew leaves to take the position at Treasury, some possible replacements for him as chief of staff include deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough or Vice President Joe Biden’s current chief of staff Ron Klain.  Tom Nides, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, has also been discussed.

Obama’s senior adviser David Plouffe has also long discussed leaving the White House.  There are many options to fill his shoes, including the elevation of communications director Dan Pfeiffer.  Also possible: bringing back former press secretary Robert Gibbs, or former deputy chief of staff/campaign manager Jim Messina.  

Another option might be to bring in some of the people who were part of the messaging shop in the campaign: David Simus, who served as director of opinion research for the campaign, or Larry Grisolano, who did ads for campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Geithner ‘Pretty Confident’ He’ll Leave Obama Administration

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner -- the sole remaining member of President Obama’s original economic team -- said Wednesday he expected to leave the administration if Obama wins a second term.

“He’s not going to ask me to stay on, I’m pretty confident,” Geithner, 50, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Charlotte, N.C.

“I’m confident he’ll be president. But I’m also confident he’s going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury.”

Geithner had been thinking about leaving his Treasury post ever since the bruising debt ceiling debate last summer, sources told ABC News, but ultimately chose to remain by Obama’s side through the end of the year.

Geithner’s departure would mark the final step in the changing of the administration’s economic guard, following the exits of National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orsazg.

When asked what he might do next, Geithner simply told Bloomberg “something else.”

The secretary will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this weekend, where the focus will be on keeping the euro zone afloat and staving off a global recession.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$200K Per Job? Tim Geithner Says White House Jobs Plan Still a Bargain

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn't dispute a Harvard economist's estimate that each job in the White House's jobs plan would cost $200,000, but said the pricetag is the wrong way to measure the bill's worth.

And he also pointed out in an interview Monday with ABC News that there is no other option on the table for getting the economy moving and putting more people back to work.

"You've got to think about the costs of the alternatives," Geithner said when asked about Harvard economist Martin Feldstein's calculation that each job created by President Obama's American Jobs Act would cost taxpayers about $200,000.

"If government does nothing, it does nothing now because they're scared by politics or they want to debate what's perfect, then there will be fewer Americans back to work, the economy will be weaker," he said.

"We can borrow money for 10 years as the government of the United States because people have confidence in this country at less than two percent," he said. "The responsible path now is to take advantage of the unique position we're in as a country. People have a lot of confidence in us. Let's take advantage of that now to do things that help growth in the short-term."

Geithner told ABC News he believes there is a "very good chance" the Jobs Act will pass because the proposals have seen bipartisan support in the past and the cost of inaction is far too high.

At the same time Geithner is trying to help spur the U.S. economy, he is pushing European leaders to act quickly in the face of a looming crisis.

After a generation of high government spending, Greece is on the brink of bankruptcy and, if it collapses, it could take down other European economies and leave American banks with $41 billion in losses.

In the last week, the average American's 401(k) has lost $7,000 because of Europe's instability.

"It hurts people very directly and very quickly when stock prices fall and the value of their pensions fall," Geithner said. "[Greece] borrowed a lot and they spent too much....[I]t's going to take them years and years to dig their way out of that....I think they have time. But not very much time."

Even in the face of a stagnant economy at home, Geithner said there are signs that things are turning around.

"If you talk to companies around the country like I do, you'll see that something -- something very promising is starting to happen right now," he said. "Companies are starting to re-look at where they produce, American companies, companies that moved things to Mexico and China decades and years ago are starting to rethink it.

"With all our challenges as a country, most companies that have the opportunity to produce or to compete around the world, they'll still say it's better to be in a company headquartered in America and we still have the strongest fundamentals," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Spending Day behind Closed Doors, Will Host Iftar Dinner

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- After spending Tuesday in Dover, Del., paying tribute to the 30 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan over the weekend, President Obama is expected to spend Wednesday behind closed doors at the White House.

Obama will meet separately with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The president, who continues to wrestle with the struggling economy, was originally scheduled to meet with Geithner on Tuesday, but their meeting was postponed for Obama’s Dover trip.

Wednesday evening, the president will host his third Iftar dinner at the White House celebrating Ramadan. The dinner continues a tradition started under President Clinton and continued by President George W. Bush. Invited guests include elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, and leaders of diverse faiths.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michele Bachmann Doubles Down on Geithner in Iowa

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann left no doubt about her disapproval of President Obama’s decision to ask Tim Geithner to stay on as Treasury Secretary, calling his retention a “tremendous disservice to the American people.”

She told a gathering of the Polk County Republican Party in Des Moines that keeping Geithner at the helm of the department was a “bad move” and accused President Obama of failing to “inspire confidence in our markets”

“For the sake of the media that are here, please indulge me,” Bachmann said before reading a statement from a sheet of paper.

“The president's refusal to remove Treasury Secretary Geithner shows the president has no plan to restore the triple-A credit rating to the United States of America,” she said.  “The president is not listening to the people of this country, nor is he providing the leadership that is necessary to bring about economic recovery.  I once again, today, in Polk County, Iowa, renew my call for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to resign immediately for the sake of our country and to return our economy to full status.”

Bachmann spent the weekend crisscrossing Iowa ahead of this Thursday’s Republican presidential debate and Saturday’s straw poll in Ames.

At her last stop of the day, she also criticized President Obama for spending his weekend at Camp David after Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded the country’s credit rating.

“We didn’t hear from the president of the United States for almost 24 hours,” Bachmann said.  “The president was gone.  He was missing in action for almost 24 hours.”

She focused her speech to a crowd that included former Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray and Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, largely on fiscal issues, but she threw in some of her trademarks lines, swiveling around at one point to show the audience her “titanium spine.”

She also offered up her full-throated support of the Second Amendment: “It’s not just a militia, it’s our right, baby!”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Timothy Geithner Staying on as Treasury Secretary

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is staying put.

The secretary informed President Obama that he plans to stay on in his position, ending speculation that the last member of Obama's original economic team would depart.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the president asked Geithner to stay.

Rumors swirled that Geithner would leave the administration after Congress raised the debt ceiling.  Sunday's announcement comes days after the major credit rating agency, S&P, downgraded the United States' credit rating.

In a statement, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Public Affairs Jenni LeCompte said Geithner "looks forward to the important work ahead on the challenges facing our great country."

The Obama administration routinely states that its actions helped prevent the economy from becoming even worse, but unemployment has remained high and growth low during the Obama presidency.  Several prominent members of Obama’s economic team have departed, including Larry Summers, Christina Romer, Peter Orszag and Austan Goolsbee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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