Entries in Treasury Department (6)


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


Obama Poised to Name New Defense, Treasury Chiefs

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the "fiscal cliff" crisis behind him, President Obama is poised to name two new key players to his cabinet, with at least one announcement expected early next week.

The announcement of who will replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta could come as soon as Monday, sources told ABC News.

Meanwhile, the president is also eyeing a replacement for outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the longest-serving member of Obama's first-term economic team and one-time lead negotiator for the administration in the "fiscal cliff" talks.

Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is a leading candidate to head the Department of Defense, while current chief of staff Jack Lew is the likely nominee for the top role at Treasury.

Geithner plans to depart his post "around the inauguration" Jan. 20, a Treasury spokesperson said Thursday, putting the department in transition just as the administration confronts the next "cliffs" over the automatic spending cuts and nation's debt limit.

During an appearance on ABC's This Week in April, Geithner said the next Treasury secretary would need to be someone who is "willing to tell [Obama] the truth and, you know, help him do the tough things you need to do."

Lew, a former two-time Office of Management and Budget director and trusted Obama confidant who has held the chief of staff role since early 2012, is the front-runner for the job.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry -- Obama's nominee to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- has begun making more regular appearances at the U.S. State Department before his expected confirmation later this month.

His Senate hearings are set to begin shortly after Obama's inauguration, sources say. The administration still expects Clinton to testify about the Sept. 11 Benghazi, Libya, attacks before Kerry is confirmed.

But it is the potential nomination of Republican Hagel that has caused the most stir.

Critics from across the political spectrum have taken aim at the former senator from Nebraska's record toward Israel and what some have called a lack of experience necessary to lead the sprawling Pentagon bureaucracy or its operations. The controversy has set the stage for what would be a contentious confirmation process.

"A lot of Republicans and Democrats are very concerned about Chuck Hagel's position on Iran sanctions, his views toward Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah, and that there is wide and deep concern about his policies," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News Sunday.

He would not say whether Republicans felt so strongly as to expect a filibuster of the nomination.

"I can tell you there would be very little Republican support for his nomination," Graham said. "At the end of the day, they will be very few votes."

Still, Hagel, 66, a former businessman and decorated veteran who served in the Vietnam War, has won praise and admiration from current and former diplomats for his work on Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board and Panetta's Policy Advisory Board.

"Hagel is a statesman, and America has few of them," former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan Ryan Crocker wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial this week.

"He knows the leaders of the world and their issues. At a time when bipartisanship is hard to find in Washington, he personifies it. Above all, he has an unbending focus on U.S. national security, from his service in Vietnam decades ago to his current position on the Intelligence Advisory Council," he said.

Obama defended Hagel in an interview last week, calling him a "patriot" who has done "extraordinary work" in public service, although he said he still had not made a final decision on who would head the Pentagon.

Other potential nominees for the DOD job include Michele Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and a senior Obama campaign adviser for national security, and Ashton Carter, the current deputy secretary of defense.

Copyright 2013 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


Treasury Official Praises TARP, Expresses Concern for Housing Sector

Joe Sohm/VisionsofAmerica/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the final hearing held by the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, Treasury official Timothy Massad commended TARP for providing stability to a tumbling financial system but admitted work still remains, especially in the housing sector.

“TARP helped prevent catastrophic collapse of our financial system and economy.  In the fall of 2008, we were staring into the abyss.  Now we are on the road to recovery,” said Massad, who is acting assistant secretary for the Office of Financial Stability.  “TARP was not a solution to all of our economic problems and there is still more work ahead.  Unemployment remains unacceptably high and the housing market remains weak.”

“I’m very focused on our housing programs.  We have not helped as many people as we would like, but I think the programs are very important in continuing to help tens of thousands, and I’m very concerned about efforts to eliminate those.  I think without those programs many, many Americans who otherwise could be helped into an affordable mortgage will not have an opportunity to do so.”

Massad admitted the government did not possess the necessary tools to stem the crisis when it arose, prompting the implementation of TARP.

Democrats in Congress passed a sweeping Wall Street reform bill since 2008, but there is disagreement over whether it would be able to avert another financial crisis.

Estimates suggest the TARP program will cost taxpayers $25 billion, far lower than the initial projection of $341 billion.  Congress originally authorized $700 billion for TARP and the government expects to spend up to $475 billion of that allotment.  $411 billion has been disbursed thus far, of which the government has recovered $277 billion.

Despite this costing taxpayers less than expected, some witnesses and members of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, which has operated for the past two years and held its final hearing Friday, expressed skepticism over identifying TARP as an absolute success when unemployment rates remain high and foreclosure looms for many households.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debt Ceiling Showdown Will Come after Tax Day

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The showdown over the nation’s debt ceiling, and lawmakers aligned with the Tea Party threatening to not approve an increase in the more than $14 trillion limit, won’t come to a head until tax day at the earliest, according to a new estimate from the Treasury Department.

“The Treasury Department now estimates that the United States will reach the debt limit between April 15, 2011 and May 31, 2011. As announced at the February Quarterly Refunding, Treasury will update this projection at the beginning of each month,” according to Mary Miller, assistant secretary for financial markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, Senate Republicans are pushing a bill that would force the government to make interest payments on the debt its top priority in the event that the debt limit is not raised later this year.

Democrats countered that it was unreasonable for Republicans to insist that the government pay holders of U.S. debt – like the largest foreign-holder China for instance – before dealing with other costs such as taking care of troops. Democrats believe the debt limit should simply be raised, with no strings attached.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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