Senate Leaders Urge President Obama To Consider ‘Any Lawful Steps’ To Avoid Default

President Obama should consider “any lawful steps,” including action without congressional approval, to raise the federal debt ceiling in order to avoid a repeat of the brinksmanship last seen on the issue in 2011, top Senate Democrats advise. In a letter to the president dated January 11, the Senate Democratic leadership warns Obama not to fall prey once again to intransigence and obstruction from Republicans, who made a political issue over raising the debt limit which ultimately downgraded the government’s sterling credit rating. The Democrats’ letter doesn’t mention it explicitly, but it would seem to be tacit approval over a plan to mint a $1 trillion coin to avoid the sort of damaging negotiations with GOP lawmakers over the debt … Continue reading

Protest Group Decries ‘Back-Door Bail-Out’ of Bank of America

A group organizing protests distinct from, but similar in spirit to, Occupy Wall Street is denouncing permission granted by the Obama administration to allow Bank of America’s holding company to transfer risky derivative assets from Merrill Lynch to its federally insured bank. The New Bottom Line — a coalition of small business, community and faith organizations — wrote President Obama, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg — to demand that permission for the deal be revoked. Bank of America, which acquired Merrill Lynch in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, itself received a $45 billion taxpayer-funded bailout. The bank, which holds more than $1 trillion in deposits, … Continue reading