TPM News

Contradicting GOP lawmakers who have suggested a US default would not lead to economic disaster, a bipartisan group of budget officials warned on Tuesday that even a brief lapse in payments could trigger a crisis. Among them were Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former CBO director under President Bush and a frequently cited Republican economic advisor.

"It's a bad idea," Holtz-Eakin said at a panel discussion of former CBO heads in Washington. "Little defaults, big defaults; default's a bad idea period and there should be no one who believes otherwise."

Holtz-Eakin has supported the GOP's efforts to secure cuts in exchange for raising he debt ceiling, but made clear that at the end of the day it had to be raised. He cited numerous dangers from a default scenario, such as its effect on the bond market.

"The idea that somehow it's a pro-growth strategy to raise interest rates on a permanent basis in the United States is just crazy," he said. "We need to grow at this point more than anything else."

He added that the market would not be easily reassured even after a brief default, likening it to wrecking one's house and then asking for a second mortgage on the property.

CBO directors are chosen by Congress and tasked with providing a nonpartisan assessment of the budget.

Rudy Penner, CBO director under President Reagan, also slammed the suggestion that default was anything but dangerous.

"The dumbest thing to do would be to default even for one day right at this point," he said. "I don't see much good coming out of these notions that somehow if we got a big budget deal it would be OK not to pay interest for a few weeks or few days."

Penner added: "It's playing with matches around gasoline as far as I'm concerned and would be an incredibly stupid thing to do."

Robert Reischauer, CBO director under Presidents Bush Sr. and Clinton, said while he could envision a scenario in which a sudden plunge in the stock market shocked both parties into compromising on a deal, it was too unstable and dangerous an approach to trifle with.

"Do I advocate that? No," he said. "Do I think that's risky? Yes. But we're looking for adult behavior here and seeing none. "

Republicans lawmakers have raised eyebrows in the bond market in recent weeks by suggesting that defaulting on US debt as part of a partisan standoff may not have major consequences for the economy. Last week Moody's warned Congress that even approaching the August 2 deadline that the Treasury Department has set before defaulting on their payments would lead them to downgrade US bonds.

Note: This story has been updated.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) officially requested an ethics investigation of Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) extramarital sexual online relationships with six woman after he admitted sending lewd photos of himself in a chaotic news conference Monday.

In a terse letter sent Tuesday, Pelosi called for an Ethics Committee investigation "to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred." She first said she would call for an ethics probe Monday almost immediately after Weiner admitted to concocting an elaborate hacking tale to keep the online sexual encounters under wraps.

Read More →

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declined to say today whether embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) should step down following the revelations about his extracurricular social media adventures.

But Reid made it clear he was not going to stand up for Weiner, who was until very recently one of the most popular Democrats among the party faithful.

"I know Congressman Weiner," Reid said. "I wish there was someway I could defend him but I can't."

Read More →

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is now calling on Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign, in the wake of Weiner's admission on Monday that he has engaged in online sexual exchanges with younger women, and that he had lied about the matter for the past week after accidentally posting a public Tweet, intended to have been a direct message to a college student, of a photo of his underwear-clad crotch.

"I don't condone his activity. And I think he should resign," Cantor said after a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Louisa, Virginia, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reports.

"We've got a lot of serious challenges in this country and a lot of work for Congress to do," Cantor also added. "The last thing we need to do is get enmeshed in a discussion about Congressman Weiner and his Twitter activities."

A group of Florida doctors filed a federal lawsuit Monday, pushing back on legislation preventing them from freely discussing gun ownership with their patients.

As TPM reported in May, a Florida bill would limit doctors' ability to ask their patients if they own guns. The law would allow doctors to ask patients about guns if they feel it's relevant to the patient's safety. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed the bill into law last week.

Read More →

After several lackluster economic reports and the announced departure of one of his top economic advisers, President Obama insisted that he isn't worried about the nation falling into a double-dip recession but acknowledged that the recovery has "got to accelerate."

"Obviously, we're experiencing some headwinds," Obama said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although he cautioned that the most recent unemployment report only showed a short-term downtick in job growth.

Read More →

The conservative fiscal purists at the Club For Growth are less than thrilled with Republican presidential front runner Mitt Romney. In the latest from their series of ""white papers"" on the Republicans seeking the 2012 nomination, the Club has dug into Romney's past and found him lacking.

"After a career in business, quickly finding a 'solution' seems to be his goal, even if it means more government intrusion as a means to an end," the Club summarizes.

Needless to say, this is not the way the group would prefer to do things.

Read More →

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) may be in far more ethical and legal trouble than initially thought.

New information about Weiner's use of Congressional resources to conduct extramarital online relationships -- and possibly to help manage the chaotic public relations fallout since their discovery over Memorial Day weekend -- is raising red flags for ethics watchdogs.

Read More →

Putting free market principles into practice, the owner of conservative blog RedState put founder Erick Erickson's endorsement up for sale in a recent advertising appeal.

The e-mail from the site's parent company, Human Events Group, promoted Erickson's influential voice with his right-leaning readers as part of a "new RedState Endorsement Program." Buyers could even score "Erick's Video Endorsement (subject to final approval by Erick)."

"Organizations with issues, candidates and viewpoints that are in line with Erick's positions can truly benefit from his endorsement," the email's author, account executive Chris McIntyre, wrote. "The program is specifically designed to provide broad, multi-channel coverage and put your message in front of the people who can truly support your advocacy and fund raising efforts."

Erickson took to his blog to assure readers that he had nothing to do with the promotion after Politico's Ben Smith broke the news of the e-mail.

Read More →

LiveWire