'Congress can't let us default,' Treasury secretary says.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew did a tour of four major Sunday shows this morning, hitting up NBC's Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, ABC's This Week and CNN's State of the Union all in one weekend. Obviously Lew touched on a lot over the course of the morning, so we've boiled down his most important points here:
- On a potential looming Debt Limit fight
Lew said there won't be a fight over the debt limit this time. "Congress can't let us default. Congress has to do its work," Lew said on This Week. He explained that the President has been "crystal clear" that there won't be negotiations for spending cuts with Congress over the spending limit. "I certainly hope that Congress isn't looking to create confrontations and false crises because we did see, in 2011, how bad that is for the American economy," Lew said. "The mere fact of negotiating over the debt limit, after 2011, would introduce this notion that somehow there's a question about whether or not we're going to pay our bills, whether or not we're going to protect the full faith and credit of the United States." There have been rumblings that a group of Senators are working to fix cuts caused by the Sequester, but Lew explained on Meet the Press there are limitations to what they can and can't fix: "What the president said, and has written to Congress, is that they cannot fix the problems created by the across-the-board cuts -- known as sequestration -- by cutting domestic priorities in order to fund defense. That's unacceptable," he said. "[The President] won't sign that."
- On Detroit
"Detroit has serious challenges. We support Detroit in its efforts. But Detroit's going to have to work with its creditors," Lew told State of the Union. Host Candy Crowley asked why the government would bail out the auto industry and not a major city. "Let's be clear, Candy, in the middle of the economic crisis, we were saving the American economy. We were in free fall. If we hadn't taken decisive action, we would have had a massively worse problem than what we even had," he said. But Lew assured the Treasury was doing everything within its regular power to help Detroit through the bankruptcy proceedings. "Detroit's got serious financial problems. They've been a long time in the making," Lew said. "We stand with Detroit and have been working with them, the technical advice, working with the kinds of normal programs the federal government has to see if there's anything we can do to help in the Treasury Department."
- On his choice for chairman of the Federal Reserve
"I'm going to keep private any conversations that we're having with the president on the question of when and what kind of succession there should be," Lew told This Week. "I think that those conversations are best left in the privacy of the Oval Office."
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