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."
- On Keystone
Lew blamed the Keystone pipeline's delays on Republicans who used the project to play what he called "political games" on Fox News Sunday. "There were some political games that were played, that took it off the trail and path to completion, where Republicans put it out there as something that was put on a timetable that it could not be resolved. It caused a delay," Lew said, after host Chris Wallace asked why the project wasn't approved to create new jobs. "Playing political games with something like this was a mistake."
Here's his full interview with CNN:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein thinks Russia is merely kicking the can down on the road on Edward Snowden because they don't know what's the best course of action to take. "I suspect this sort of temporary amnesty or refugee status is to give Russia time to really consider what's in their best interests. And I think, if they think about it hard, what Snowden did, it's not in their best interests," the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on State of the Union. "Putin knows this. He runs the KGB, he knows what intelligence is comprised of." The California Democrat told Crowley that Russia has two possible motives for keeping Snowden: "I think, to harbor this man is one of two things, one, we want to get hold of this stuff and, two, we really want to take the time to figure this out as to whether we should return him to the United States," Feinstein said. As for the hacker, she questioned his motives too. "He went and strategically placed (the information) so that it could come out at different times. Then he went to two big cyber-intruding powers, China and Russia, and left China and went to Russia," Feinstein said. "You've got to ask why did he choose those two? You've got to also ask, do the Chinese have all this material? Do the Russians have it?"
The Guardian journalist who leaked classified National Security Agency information with help from Edward Snowden said he was shocked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper still has a job on This Week. "It's amazing that he not only hasn't been prosecuted but still has his job. And what that does is it lets national security officials continue to lie to the public," Glenn Greenwald said, before promising to publish a story this week outlining how much access to phone call recordings and emails low-level NSA agents (like Snowden) really have. "There are legal constrains for how you can spy on Americans," Greenwald said. "But these systems allow analysts to listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing history, Microsoft Word documents. It's an incredibly powerful and invasive tool."
Two very different politicians called on Anthony Weiner to drop out of the New York mayoral race on the Sunday shows: David Axelrod, the President's former right-hand man, and Rep. Peter King. Weiner is probably one of the few things the two men could agree on when it comes to politics. "At this point it's absurd. He is not going to be the next mayor of New York. He is wasting time and space," Axelrod said on Meet the Press. "It's time for him to go away and let New York have its mayor's race." King said Weiner has a "pathological problem" on State of the Union. "He should do himself and everybody a favor and step to the sidelines. He is not psychologically qualified to be mayor of the city of New York," the New York Congressman said.
But there was also Weiner's biggest opponent for mayor, fellow Democratic candidate Christine Quinn, on Meet the Press saying the sexting superstar wasn't qualified to serve New York City. "I don't think it's appropriate for opponents to say who should or shouldn't get in or out of races. That's for voters," Quinn said, after being badgered by David Gregory to say whether or not Weiner should drop out. "Has he disqualified himself? Yes. He disqualified himself, but not just because of these scandals." In Quinn's mind, Weiner's track record in Congress should have been enough to show he wasn't worthy of New York's City Hall. "He didn't have the qualifications when he was in Congress. He was in Congress for 12 years, he passed one bill," she said. Yikes.