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Posts tagged ‘Jacob Lew’

Obama Fake Fires Outgoing Acting IRS Chief Who Was Leaving Anyway.

Desperate to score a win and begin to turn the tide of scandal that is flooding his presidency, Barack Obama yesterday pretended to fire outgoing Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller whose term was set to expire in June anyway.

From Daily Mail UK: President Barack Obama has thrown his acting IRS commissioner overboard, making Steven Miller the highest-ranking political casualty thus far in a series of scandals that have swept his administration in recent weeks.


Note To The White House: He was leaving anyway, nice try.

In a hastily called press conference in the East Room of the White House, Obama told reporters that he had asked Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to find out who was responsible for a program that targeted tea party groups and other conservative organizations for a special level of intrusive questioning after they applied for tax-exempt charitable statuses.

‘Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting director of the IRS,’ Obama said.

‘It’s important,’ he added, ‘to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.’

But in an email to IRS employees, Miller claimed he would only be leaving next month because his assignment would be over.

‘It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June,’ Miller wrote. ‘This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency.’

The IRS, the president conceded, ‘improperly screened conservative groups.’ He referred to a report released Tuesday by the IRS’s Inspector General. ’The misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable,’ Obama exclaimed. ‘It’s inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.’ source – Daily Mail UK

by NTEB News Desk

Biden Not Ready to Give Back, Will Keep Salary, For Now.

Unlike some other members of the Obama administration, Vice President Joe Biden is holding off on donating a portion of his salary as a gesture to those affected by the sequester, but that could change if and when members of his staff are furloughed, CBS News reports.

“The vice president is committed to sharing the burden of the sequester with his staff,” Biden’s office said in a statement issued Friday.

Biden would be in some high-ranking company if he indeed decides to donate a percentage of his salary to charity or pay back the Treasury.

This week alone, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and Obama himself all pledged to return part of their salaries to the U.S. Treasury in a show of solidarity with workers feeling the squeeze of budget cuts.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and other cabinet secretaries also promised to do the same.

Biden is the antithesis of the independently wealthy polician.

He and wife Jill Biden reported a combined income of $379,035 in 2011 and his average net worth that same year was approximately $423,000, according to a calculation by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Contrast that with Kerry’s net worth, which is estimated to be in excess of $200 million.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Matthew Auerbach

Obama Vows to Manage Sequester ‘As Best We Can’.

President Obama today vowed to continue working with Republicans to develop a long-term deficit reduction plan, while making it clear that the sequester – the automatic government spending cuts that kicked in over the weekend – would not prevent him from pursuing his broader second-term agenda.

“I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things,” Obama told reporters at the first cabinet meeting of his second term.

“It is an area of deep concern, and I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue. We are going to manage it as best we can, try to minimize the impacts on American families, but it’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction,” he said.

The president said his administration will “do whatever it is that we need to get done to help America’s families” suffering as a result of the spending cuts.

“We’re going to do our best to make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very difficult decisions, understanding that there are going to be families and communities that are hurt, and that this will slow our growth,” he said.

The president reiterated that his agenda is “broader than just the sequester,” and that he would continue to push his legislative priorities, including immigration reform, universal preschool and reducing gun violence.

“One of the things that I’ve instructed not just my White House but every agency is to make sure that, regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy and improve people’s prospects,” he said.

Today’s meeting was the first for several new members of the president’s cabinet. “We’ve got some familiar faces, we have some new faces, we have some familiar faces in new positions,” he said, noting Jack Lew, his former chief of staff and new Treasury secretary, and Chuck Hagel, his new defense secretary.


By Mary Bruce | ABC OTUS News

Lew set to start at Treasury as budget cuts loom.

  • FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2013, file photo, Jack Lew testifies at his confirmation hearing to be the new Treasury Secretary in Washington. The Senate confirmed Lew on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama's choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

    View PhotoAssociated Press/J. Scott Applewhite, File – FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2013, file photo, Jack Lew testifies at his confirmation hearing to be the new Treasury Secretary in Washington. The Senate confirmed Lew …more 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jacob Lew is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday as Treasury secretary and will have to hit the ground running.

He is taking over the job just a day before huge automatic government spending cuts are set to take effect. He’s likely to be involved with any negotiations to reverse the cuts, and also in budget talks next month to continue funding the government.

The Senate confirmed Lew late Wednesday, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over spending and taxes.

“At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack,” Obama said in a statement issued after the Senate vote. “His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington.”

The vote was 71 to 26 to support the nomination. Voting against Lew’s confirmation were 25 Republicans and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Lew, 57, had most recently served as Obama’s chief of staff. He succeeds Timothy Geithner, who completed a tumultuous four-year term in which he helped lead the administration’s response to the financial crisis and recession.

Lew began his government service in the 1980s as an aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. He brings nearly three decades of government service to the job, including two stints as White House budget director.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who opposed the nomination, said Lew as budget directorwas the architect of the Obama’s administration’s failed efforts to get soaring deficits under control.

During his confirmation hearing, Lew signaled no major economic policy changes. He advocated a balanced approach to reducing the long-term budget deficit through spending cuts and additional tax revenue.

He said he would be open to reforms to Medicare, but he didn’t spell out any details. Lew also said he would work with the committee on a rewrite of the tax code.

Beyond the budget, Lew is expected to hew closely to the positions Geithner struck on Europe‘s debt crisis, the U.S. relationship with China and the administration’s defense of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law that the banking industry has fought to weaken.

Some Republicans voted against Lew because they were not satisfied with his answers about his previous employment with Citigroup, including a brief time when he was chief operating officer for an investment unit in 2008. The unit has been criticized for making risky investments that imploded during the financial crisis. And Lew received a bonus of nearly $1 million in early 2009, a time when Citi was being bailed out by taxpayers.

Lew told the panel that he didn’t make decisions about the investments being offered to clients. He said his bonus reflected compensation for his work.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, opposed Lew’s nomination. He cited questions about his time at Citi, as well as Lew’s compensation while working as chief operating officer at New York University.

“Mr. Lew’s eagerness and skill in obtaining bonuses, severance payments, housing allowances and other perks raises concerns about whether he appreciates who pays the bills,” Grassley said.

One potential weakness for Lew: His relative inexperience with financial markets and international economic crises — areas that had played to Geithner’s background. Analysts think Lew will keep pressuring Europe to deal aggressively with its budget and debt issues. But they think this will consume less of his time given that Europe’s debt crisis now poses less of a threat to the global economy.

On trade, Lew is expected to keep prodding China. The U.S. trade gap with the world’s second-largest economy hit another record high last year. No breakthrough is expected, though.

Lew will also need to calm investors who have grown concerned about possible currency wars after Japan’s new government sought to lower the value of the yen as a way to boost exports and its weak economy. A weaker yen makes Japanese goods cheaper overseas and foreign goods costlier in Japan.

And Lew will need to defend the Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauled financial regulation after the 2008 crisis. Since the law was passed in 2010, Wall Street has fought to weaken many of its stricter regulations.

He may also need to work on his signature, which starts off with a soft “J” but is followed by seven loopy scribbles that render it illegible. The Treasury secretary’s signature is emblazoned in the lower right corner of U.S. dollar bills of all denominations.

When he announced Lew’s nomination, Obama said Lew had promised to work to make one letter legible “in order not to debase our currency.”


By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | Associated Press

Wednesday in politics: Obama pitches manufacturing ideas in N.C., and more.

President Barack Obama travels to Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday to discuss manufacturing proposals he made in his State of the Union address, and he’ll make similar trips to Georgia and Illinois later in the week.

Obama returned to economic development and job creation in his speech Tuesday evening after an inaugural address that was notable for its sweeping themes.

“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs—that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” Obama said. “Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Jack Lew’s nomination to be secretary of the treasury. He would replace Timothy Geithner, who left the position Jan. 25. Lew would take over a couple of weeks before billions in automatic spending cuts at scheduled to go into effect.

Also worth noting on Wednesday: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on immigration reform, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on problems at the U.S. Postal Service, and first lady Michelle Obama will host an interactive student workshop that includes the cast and crew of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

And then there is this: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will host a fundraiser for Republican N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, who is running for a second term.

Sources: Yahoo News’ The Ticket, Yahoo News editor Beth Fouhy, Associated Press and Reuters.


By Phil Pruitt | The Ticket

Obama picks Lew for Treasury as fiscal issues loom.



Lew’s nomination for treasury chief puts emphasis on fiscal challenges, opens a new chapter

WASHINGTON (AP) — For 30 years, Jack Lew has had a hand in some of the biggest economic deals negotiated in Washington. What awaits him if he’s confirmed as treasury secretary could far exceed any challenge of the past — a triple-decked potential crisis that will test his experience the moment he opens his office door on the third floor of the Treasury Building

Lew, nominated for the job Thursday by President Barack Obama, has honed his skills in the trenches of fiscal policy, helping forge major deals encompassing Social Security and budgets for the likes of former Speaker Tip O’Neill and President Bill Clinton.

Obama highlighted that experience in announcing Lew’s selection, an unmistakable nod to the fast-approaching deadlines to raise the government borrowing limit, avert deep and immediate spending cuts and extend government operations.

“I trust his judgment,” Obama said. “I value his friendship. I know very few people with greater integrity.”

Flanked by Lew and outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the White House‘s ornate East Room, Obama in effect underscored the nation’s changing economic landscape. In Geithner, Obamahad a longtime international finance specialist with the Treasury and the Federal Reserve who took office in 2009 at the height of the nation’s banking crisis. In Lew, currently the White House chief of staff, he has a premier budget expert and close ally as the government plunges into its next struggle over debts and deficits.

Of the three looming events that would confront him if confirmed none has the potential for more economic damage than the debt ceiling. Failure to increase it from its current $16.4 trillion would force the government to default on its debts, an unprecedented event. Republicans have demanded spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the nation’s ability to pay its obligations.

It’s the kind of standoff that doesn’t simply require budget knowledge, but also negotiating skill.Obama praised Lew for exemplifying both.

“Over the years, he’s built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises,” Obama said.

But House Republican officials who negotiated with Obama’s team over a debt ceiling deal in the summer of 2011 described Lew as unyielding, saying he displayed a greater desire to persuade than to negotiate and to use what they considered budget gimmicks to show cuts in spending.

According to notes kept by a Republican official during a White House meeting on July 13, 2011, Lew justified his accounting math as longtime Washington practice. “We’re not doing that anymore,”House Speaker John Boehner replied.

Reaction to Lew’s appointment fell along predictable partisan lines.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called his selection an “outstanding choice” and praised Lew as a “selfless public servant.” The Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, called him “a well-respected, longtime public servant with impressive expertise on budgetary and fiscal issues.”

And while Obama credited Lew’s time as budget director under President Clinton when the nation’s budget was in surplus, Republicans pointedly noted that he has been Obama’s budget director and chief of staff during a time of $1 trillion deficits.

“The American people deserve to know not only that this nominee is qualified for the job, but also what policies the White House supports to get federal spending under control,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

One liberal senator, Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, announced he would not vote for Lew, even though he predicted he would be confirmed. He criticized Lew’s role in budget negotiations where the White House agreed to consider changes in Social Security cost-of-living increases and reductions in Medicare spending.

And Lew’s selection was attacked in an editorial Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, which said, “Mr. Lew’s nomination will disappoint those (mostly naive CEOs) who were hoping for a second-term agenda more hospitable to business and private economic growth. … Mr. Lew is a Washington lifer whose expertise is politics.”

Initial reactions from the business and financial sectors, however, were far more positive.

“One of the realities of Mr. Lew’s appointment is the challenges we face in the country right now — the cliffs we have in front of us,” said Thomas Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “I think Jack is a very experienced fellow on the issues of debt, deficits and budgets.”

Donohue called Lew a “skilled operative,” a “vigorous and strong person” and a “tough dude.”

Rob Nichols, the president and CEO of the Financial Services Forum, a major banking industry group, said: “Given his experience in the government and private sector, Mr. Lew is well-suited for the job especially at a time when Washington must come together to address our debt situation and put our nation on a long-term fiscally sustainable path.”

Lew’s nomination is the fourth major personnel change in the administration since Obama’s re-election. Obama tapped Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to become secretary of state, former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as defense secretary and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan for the CIA’s top job.

Geithner is expected to remain at Treasury through Jan. 25.

While Lew does not have the extensive Wall Street experience of past treasury secretaries, many analysts said that his experience dealing with budget issues should make up for that.

“He knows the federal budget in gory detail and he has a lot of experience working with Congress,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Those are two big plusses for any treasury secretary. The next couple of years will be about getting our fiscal house in order and there is no better person to do that than Mr. Lew.”

Lew, an Orthodox Jew who eschews work on Saturdays, is the picture of a policy bookworm with his glasses and neatly parted shock of hair. It’s a look that has defined him since his days working for Tip O’Neill in room H-209 in the Capitol, sitting next to Chris Matthews, then a top O’Neill aide and now the garrulous MSNBC television host.

Matthews, a fan of Lew’s, marveled that Lew’s looks and his “Maginot Line hairline” remained the same from their days on the Hill.

“I watched that part this morning, and it hasn’t changed,” he said.

Now 57, Lew was in his mid- to late-20s while working for O’Neill and had a hand in negotiations between the speaker and President Ronald Reagan that led to a bipartisan agreement to extend the solvency of Social Security.

“Very young guy, just a smart guy,” Matthews recalled Thursday. “I looked like the door keeper, he was the smart guy in the corner.”


Associated Press writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.


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By Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press | Associated Press

Obama Announces Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary.

Will there be jokesRemarks about his squiggly autograph? Signals about the looming deficit fight, from which Timothy Geithner is backing out? President Obama is about to appear with Geithner and Jack Lew, his current chief of staff, at the White House to formally announce Lew’s promotion to Treasury Secretary. After word got out of the appointment Wednesday, Republicans began their opposition campaign. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You can watch the nomination right here, and we’ll be updating this post with more details from the briefing:

Update 1:42 p.m. The first big applause goes to Tim Geithner.  And it came with this line from Obama, “When the history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest secretaries of the Treasury.”

You can tell that Obama has been wanting to say this publicly about Geithner for a very very long time.

Update 1:52 p.m. About 20 minutes in and we now have our first dorky joke about Lew’s squiggly signature.

Lew: “It was only yesterday that I discovered that we share a common challenge in penmanship,” to Tim Geithner.

And the penmanship jokes keep coming. In closing his nomination announcement, Obama says: “Jack assures me he will work to make at least one letter legible so as not to debase our currency.”



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