Bank Executives, Treasury Department Officials Meet At Federal Reserve To Discuss Debt Ceiling

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — While all eyes are on Washington as Congress tries to hammer out a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, a crucial meeting on the matter started here in New York.

Executives from the nation’s largest banks met face to face with Treasury Department officials about what will happen if Congress fails to raise its borrowing limit before next week’s deadline.

The Treasury late Thursday invited 20 of the largest banks to a noon meeting at the New York Federal Reserve.

The meeting comes as Republicans in Congress called off a vote last night on House Speaker John Boehner’s vote to raise the debt ceiling. The vote was called off because Boehner couldn’t garner enough conservative support to pass it. Some Republicans have said the bill doesn’t do enough to cut federal spending.

Officials representing the bond-trading divisions of banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital have been invited to the discussions. Officials said they wanted to meet with all of the big banks involved in the Treasury bond market in light of the concerns confronting the market at the moment with the impasse over approving an increase in the government’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit.

The government issues large amounts of securities every three months in a process called a “quarterly refunding.” The next refunding is scheduled to take place the week of Aug. 15 and is expected to feature the sale of different types of securities on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week.

However, the size of those auctions and their timing have all been put into doubt by the congressional impasse over the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, President Obama is telling Congress in no uncertain terms, get a deal done. “The time for putting party first is over,” Obama said Friday. “The time for putting American people first, is now.”

Officials have warned of serious consequences if the Treasury failed to make payments on its debt, triggering a default that could send shockwaves through financial markets around the world. However, so far the Treasury bond market has continued to function normally, indicating that investors expect Congress to pass an increase in the debt limit before a default occurs.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid called on the Senate Republican leader on Friday to join him in a compromise. “There’s no time left to vote on another bill,” Reid said. 

Senator Charles Schumer said Wednesday that New Yorker’s disability and tuition payments could be impacted. Schumer also blasted the Republican plan championed by Boehner.

“Speaker Boehner should not, and we can not, let a small block of House Republicans lead the whole nation off a cliff.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) suggested earlier this week that Obama simply bypass the Congress and authorize an increase in the debt ceiling himself. Engel suggested Obama had the authority under the 14th amendment, which says that the validity of the nation’s public debt “shall not be questioned.”

Financial analysts have said that Treasury would be expected to use any existing cash on hand to make interest payments to prevent a default for as long as possible. Some private economists have suggested that the government’s cash reserves could be enough to prevent a default for perhaps two weeks beyond the Aug. 2 deadline.

Treasury officials refused to provide specifics on what they planned to tell the major financial institutions on Friday but they indicated that the discussions would allow officials to hear concerns voiced by the biggest participants in the bond market.

Would you prefer the federal government increase the debt limit or cut spending? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Meme Meyagi

    last time banks met with fed, usa bailed out banks that should have failed. expect more of the same

  • Bob Fowler

    This is quite the ridiculous story. Imagine who it was that thought that the banks meeting with the Treasury was newsworthy? In any other walk of life, that would be called collusion.

  • Steve

    I agree that Flynn’s comments sound racist.

    On the debt issue then, at what point do you say enough is enough and just say no more (to cut up the credit cards, so to speak)? If Congress passed the Balanced Budget amendment during Bill Clinton’s term, just think how much better this issue would be now. I work in Finance and I shudder at the consequences of not passing the debt limit. However, I am more fearful of the future if Congress’ appetite for fiscal irresponsibility continues: cut spending; cut tax breaks; raise limited taxes for Medicare/Medicaid (so that the program funds itself); and don’t pass programs without telling the American people the fiscal consequences.

  • JRP

    These politicians are all in bed with each other and Wall St. Didn’t we just bail-out these firms which they are now meeting with Washington to discuss saving the us from bankruptcy? Somethings wrong here!!!

  • rogerjohnson

    why don’t the government call in all the loans that gave out to other countrys

  • John

    Flynn, you are a racist.

  • Flynn

    I’m gonna throw this out there: If the President of the United States was named John Smith, a Caucasian from the mid-west — regardless of whether he was a Democrat or Republican — we would not be where we are.

    There are people right now in congress that want Obama out of the White House simply because he is a black man — and they are willing to trash the country to do it.

    • Perdition 101

      More liberal race baiting Nonesense to cover for Obama’s incompetence and stupidity! The left will continue to use this tired old argument to defend this do nothing but promote himself empty suit president.

      It’s just as racist to vote for a person because he is black just as it is to vote against them because they are black.

      • Flynn

        Explain how my comment is racist? How many times have we seen / heard devout tea party members make racially charged comments about this President? Go on Youtube — it’s easy to find them.

        There are people in this country that hate and resent the fact that an African American is in the oval office. It’s plain and simple. There are people willing to do whatever it takes to make him fail, even if means taking down the gov’t to do it.

        I am not defending the President’s performance. Hell, I’ll be the first to say he’s let me down — I expected much more from him when I cast my vote. But to say that race is not a factor here is unbelievably ignorant.

        (White guy, for what its worth)

    • Truth

      Thanks for telling it like it is.

  • DanTe

    Nothing will happen. The banks’ risk capital re Treasuries are not based on ratings. And what other bonds will other countries and people buy? French? Chinese? Ugandan? HA! Treasury yields will stay low as it is.

    Bunch of chicken little bone head reporters running scares for a good story to sell to imbeciles.

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