For Big Business, Money and Mouth at Odds on Debt Ceiling

Goldman Sachs chairman and chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein sits down to testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on Wall Street investment banks and the financial crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
Oct. 6, 2013, 7:34 a.m.

Last week, the CEO of Gold­man Sachs emerged from a White House meet­ing with Pres­id­ent Obama with a mes­sage to Con­gress: Don’t play around with the debt ceil­ing.

“You can re-lit­ig­ate these policy is­sues in a polit­ic­al for­um, but we shouldn’t use threats of caus­ing the U.S. to fail on its ob­lig­a­tions to re­pay its debt as a cudgel,” Lloyd Blank­fein said.

Yet ex­ec­ut­ives and oth­ers at Gold­man Sachs and sim­il­ar big fin­an­cial firms have con­trib­uted tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to some of the very politi­cians who helped set the stage for the cur­rent show­down — and con­cerns over the debt ceil­ing.

For in­stance, Gold­man Sachs was the fourth-largest donor to Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2012 elec­tion cycle, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spons­ive Polit­ics. Dona­tions from in­di­vidu­als as­so­ci­ated with the firm — where’s Cruz’s wife works — and the com­pany PAC totaled al­most $66,000.

Per­haps more than any oth­er law­maker, Cruz has in­sisted that a bill to keep the gov­ern­ment fun­ded be tied to meas­ures that would weak­en the Af­ford­able Care Act, set­ting the stage for last week’s gov­ern­ment shut­down. As law­makers fight over how to pass a short-term meas­ure to fund gov­ern­ment agen­cies, the de­bate threatens to en­gulf dis­cus­sions over wheth­er to in­crease the debt ceil­ing.

Over­all, people af­fil­i­ated with Gold­man Sachs donated roughly equal amounts to Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats in Con­gress. But the fin­an­cial sec­tor gen­er­ally fa­vors the GOP. Con­tri­bu­tions in the cur­rent cycle total $64.4 mil­lion, 56 per­cent of which has gone to Re­pub­lic­ans.

Moreover, there are sev­er­al con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­ans who sup­por­ted the strategy that led to the shut­down who count ma­jor busi­ness in­terests among their top donors.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has re­ceived $51,000 from the Amer­ic­an Bankers As­so­ci­ation’s PAC since 2010, mak­ing the group his second-largest donor. Rep. Tim Huel­skamp, R-Kan., coun­ted the PAC as his fourth-largest donor, at $22,000.

As­so­ci­ation Pres­id­ent Frank Keat­ing, who is also a mem­ber of the Bi­par­tis­an Policy Cen­ter’s Debt Re­duc­tion Task Force, penned an ed­it­or­i­al last month in The Wash­ing­ton Post warn­ing of grave con­sequences should the na­tion de­fault on its debt. “Us­ing the debt ceil­ing as lever­age in the de­fi­cit de­bate is un­wise and dan­ger­ous,” he wrote. “Cit­izens na­tion­wide are frus­trated with the polit­ic­al stale­mate in Wash­ing­ton. But our na­tion’s fin­an­cial in­teg­rity should not be used as a bar­gain­ing chip.”

Yet last week, Huel­skamp told The Wash­ing­ton Times he would vote against rais­ing the debt ceil­ing without a long-term fisc­al plan that in­cludes Obama­care re­stric­tions.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
3 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×