By Jake Sherman
The Obama administration wants Congress to raise the debt limit in the next 16 days.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, saying the “best course of action would be for Congress to “raise the nation’s debt limit “before February 7 to ensure orderly financing of the government.” At the latest, Lew writes, Congress must lift the cap by the end of February.
“When I previously wrote to you in December, I estimated that Treasury would exhaust extraordinary measures in late February or early March,” Lew wrote to Boehner. “Based on our best and most recent information, we believe that Treasury is more likely to exhaust those measures in late February. While this forecast is subject to inherent variability, we do not foresee any reasonable scenario in which the extraordinary measures would last for an extended period of time.”
There’s not a ton of time. The House is out of session this week and in session for only two-and-a-half days next week. As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be a plan to lift the debt limit. Asked last week whether Congress would have to deal with the debt limit by late February, Boehner demurred.
By Kristen Welker and Daniel Arkin, NBC News
As the Obama administration scrambles to rectify the rocky rollout of the online health care marketplace, the Health Department said Sunday that it has enlisted the “best and brightest” to help fix the website’s torrent of technical glitches and bugs as the president prepares to address the problems at the White House on Monday.
“Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a blog post published Sunday.
The blog post also says technology officials have been working “around the clock” to ensure that individuals can create accounts and apply for health care coverage without any digital roadblocks.
“We’re proud of these quick improvements, but we know there’s still more work to be done,” the post says. “We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.”
“I think there’s no one more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the website,” Lew said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.
THE HUFFINGTON POST
By Sam Stein
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that Steven Miller, the acting director of the Internal Revenue Service, had resigned amid criticism over the tax agency’s handling of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Speaking from the White House’s East Room, the president said that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold the IRS accountable for its missteps, revealed in a Treasury Department inspector general’s report released on Tuesday. Among the steps Lew took was to request and accept “the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS.”
“It is important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward,” said Obama.
The president also said that he had instructed Lew to implement the recommendations of the inspector general’s report which looked into why groups with words like “tea party” in their name had been forced to endure more scrutiny when applying for 501(c)(4) status. Obama added that he would “work with Congress as it performs its oversight role” in investigating the IRS.
- IRS Acting Commissioner Resigns (kktv.com)
- Officials who don’t exist can’t resign (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Boehner on IRS Scandal: ‘Who is going to jail?’ (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Marco Rubio Calls For Non-Existent IRS Commissioner To Resign (blogs.browardpalmbeach.com)
- Obama: Acting IRS commissioner has resigned (mercurynews.com)
- Boehner on IRS scandal: ‘Who is going to jail?’ (wyff4.com)
- Marco Rubio Humiliates Himself By Demanding That the Non-Existent IRS Commissioner Resign (politicususa.com)
- IRS gave liberal groups a pass as it targeted conservatives: report (blogs.marketwatch.com)
- Obama says watchdog report’s findings on IRS ‘intolerable’ (reuters.com)
National News Alert
According to Bloomberg, President Barack Obama plans to name White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew tomorrow as his choice for Treasury secretary, replacing Timothy F. Geithner, a person familiar with the process said.
Lew, 57, who also has served as director of the Office of Management and Budget, has been offered the Treasury post by Obama, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss personnel matters.