Today’s Q’s for O’s WH — 5/6/10

May 6, 2010 5:37pm

Deputy Treasury Secretary Neil Wolin joined White House press secretary Robert Gibbs at the top of the briefing.

TAPPER: Just a couple follow-ups.  [Referring to Sen. Shelby’s amendment on changes to the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, read more about that HERE] the president said that this –he “will not let amendments like this one written by Wall Street lobbyists pass for reform.”  Specifically, if it's part of the bill, will he veto it?

WOLIN:  I think, Jake, the same answer I gave before –    

TAPPER: You didn't give an answer.   
WOLIN:  Well –  
TAPPER: Is it a veto threat, or not?   
WOLIN:  I think it's premature to talk about veto threats, Jake.  As I say, I'm — we don't expect this amendment to succeed. And if it comes to that, we'll deal with it when that happens.    

TAPPER: Okay.  And then, in terms of the Sanders amendment [Read more about that HERE]. Sanders says that, and the amendment says that nothing shall be construed as  interfering with monetary policy, but what they want to know is who  received the $2 trillion in Wall Street bailout funds.  Does the administration oppose letting the American people know and see who  received every dime of the $8 billion in bailout funds?   
WOLIN:  It doesn't.  And again, we are for transparency.  We  think that's an incredibly important principle, and one that, frankly,  is well embedded in the Dodd approach, and in the approach that the president has put forward.   What we want to make sure at the same time, though, is that the   provision doesn't, in a sort of an unintended way or whatever, get in  the — into the area of monetary policy that encroaches on the central bank's independence, or has the perception of that.  Where that has  happened in various places, it's not been — it's not been a pretty picture.  

TAPPER: Sanders said that that charge, that it would interfere with  monetary policy — he called it bogus.

WOLIN:  Well, I think, you know, having a multiplicity of voices, Jake, being able to comment on the conduct of monetary policy  already creates a bit of an issue.  The legislation does take down some barriers that have existed for some time now with respect to the GAO not getting into the middle of monetary policy.  That's the kind  of thing that we're concerned about.   


TAPPER: Just to follow up on that, the president has said that it   — he wants it to be a bipartisan bill, immigration reform.

GIBBS:  Well, let me just be clear:  Again, in order to get it through, it's going to have to be.  
TAPPER: Right.  
GIBBS:  There's — that's a math problem, not a — not a perception problem.  
TAPPER: Democrats have been shopping around an immigration-reform proposal in the absence of Lindsey Graham being partners with Schumer on this.  They haven't been able to find a Republican yet, the last time I checked, to join them.

GIBBS:  There lies the problem.
TAPPER: How important is it to the president that the bill itself  be one that can attract Republicans, even if there are no Republican sponsors?    
GIBBS:  Again, it — I –
TAPPER: Do you see what I'm driving at?  I mean, because there are  some Republicans who say that the Democratic leadership in the Senate is just looking to use this as an issue to gin up and galvanize Democratic voters for the fall.  I'm not saying that that's what the  president is trying to –  

GIBBS:  Yeah, that's — I mean, I think the president's involvement on this issue has been consistent throughout the years.  I would say — I don't — whether or not you could get people to vote for something but not be a direct sponsor, I don't — that might be a tougher — (chuckles) — you know?

TAPPER: Well, how do — how do you do that equation, though?

GIBBS:  Yeah.

TAPPER: I mean, do you look at the 2007 legislation as a template? Do you — do you –

GIBBS:  Yeah, look, I think there's certainly aspects of the legislation that was done throughout the period of '05 through '07. I'd have to look specifically at — I've not evaluated specifically what is in one and isn't in the other sort of thing.  But again, I  would simply reiterate, Jake, that it's not just a luxury in needing  Republican support and sponsors.  It's a necessity.  And unless or  until we get to that point, it's going to be hard to enact overall comprehensive reform.
TAPPER: Okay.  And just to follow up on a couple other things –  
GIBBS:  Yeah.  

TAPPER: Neal Wolin talked about Fannie and Freddie reform being  something that the president wants to do.  Is there a timeline for  that?  Is there any pressing need?  
GIBBS:  Yeah.
TAPPER: Obviously there was some news from Freddie yesterday that couldn't have been heartening to the president.  
GIBBS:  But I think something we larged — that was largely believed to be expected. I wouldn't add much, since he's the deputy secretary of the Treasury, to what Neal said and what Secretary Geithner have over the  past few months outlined.  The president reiterated to the economic  team on either Monday or Tuesday — I forget exactly which day we were  in the Oval — that this was something that had to be pursued as part   of the full panoply of financial reform, even as we ensure, as Neal said, stability in the housing market.   
TAPPER: And lastly, Senators Lieberman and Scott Brown, as well as Congressmen Altmire and Dent, introduced a law today that would allow  the State Department to designate anyone who the State Department believes is providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization to strip that person of their citizenship if  they are a U.S. citizen.  Does the administration have a position on this bill?
GIBBS:  I have not heard anybody inside the administration that's been supportive of that idea.

TAPPER:  Does that mean the administration opposes it?
GIBBS:  I have not heard anybody that supports it at all.

TAPPER:  Do you want the press release?

GIBBS:  No, I got Google too.
TAPPER: Okay.  (Laughter.)    


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