(CNN) - Republican Sen. Rand Paul returned half a million dollars from his office budget to the Treasury Department on Thursday, offering a relatively small chunk of cash to help pay off the massive federal debt, which totals more than $15 trillion.
Unveiling a check made out to "The U.S. Taxpayer" at an event in Louisville, the Kentucky senator said he hopes other members of Congress would follow his cost-cutting measures.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is staying put, the Obama administration announced Sunday.
"Secretary Geithner has let the president know that he plans to stay on in his position at Treasury," a Treasury spokeswoman said in a statement.FULL STORY
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - With the price of gold at record highs, presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul wants to make sure the U.S. gold bars at Fort Knox are really there.
Paul, a Texas Republican who wants to convert the U.S. monetary system to one based on the gold standard, called a hearing on Thursday to grill federal officials from Treasury and the General Accounting Office about whether all the U.S.-owned gold is safe.FULL STORY
New York (CNNMoney) – It's been a pretty good week for the Treasury Department's bailout program.
Chrysler repaid a $5.9 billion high-interest loan, and Treasury is lowering its ownership stake in bailed-out insurer AIG through a stock sale that will bring in $8.7 billion.FULL STORY
(CNNMoney.com) – The Senate on Thursday raised the cap on how much the government can borrow to a record level.
Getting just enough votes to pass, the Senate voted 60-39 to increase the debt limit to $1.9 trillion. That would push the ceiling to $14.294 trillion from the current $12.394 trillion. Sixty votes were required for passage.
But it's not a done deal. The bill now needs to be sent back to the House for a vote, where passage is still in question, according to Congressional Quarterly.
A $1.9 trillion increase is expected to cover the Treasury's projected borrowing needs through at least early 2011, and in any case well past the November mid-term elections. Debt limit votes are always politically difficult and not ones lawmakers seeking re-election like to take.
The ceiling reflects the level up to which the Treasury Department is allowed to borrow. If the ceiling is ever breached, the country would effectively be in default. That can hurt bonds, the dollar and creditors' portfolios.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Intense pressure from the Obama administration spurred loan servicers to ramp up the amount of permanent modifications they offered to troubled borrowers.
The number of long-term adjustments completed under the president's foreclosure prevention plan rose to 66,465 at the end of December, or 7.4% of all trial modifications started, up from 31,382 a month earlier.
Another 46,056 modifications are pending borrowers' final signatures, according to Treasury statistics released Friday.
Meanwhile, the number of delinquent homeowners in trial modifications rose to 787,231, up from 697,026 a month earlier.
"Treasury is committed to working with servicers and borrowers to sustain this improved pace," said Phyllis Caldwell, chief of Treasury's Homeownership Preservation Office.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The federal budget deficit increased in June as spending surged and tax receipts sunk, pushing the total budget shortfall to over $1 trillion in the first 9 months of the fiscal year, according to a government report released Monday.
The Treasury Department said the June deficit was $94.3 billion, a reversal of fortune from the $33.5 billion surplus the government managed in June 2008. In May, the deficit was $189.7 billion.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a budget deficit of $97 billion. The Congressional Budget Office had also forecast a $97 billion shortfall last month.
The deficit was the largest shortfall the government has ever recorded in the month of June, and the first time it has come up short in June since 1991, according to a Treasury official. The largest monthly deficit on record was February 2009, when the government increased its shortfall by $193.9 billion.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year, which began in October, the total deficit hit $1.09 trillion.
In the first nine months of 2008, the United States government was $285.9 billion in debt. For all of fiscal 2008, the government racked up a $454.8 billion shortfall.
Spending surging, income shrinking: The government has been spending at a breakneck pace to slow the deceleration of the economy in the current recession. At the same time, tax revenue from companies and individuals has declined, adding to the shortfall.
So far in fiscal 2009, the government has spent $2.67 trillion, but it has only taken in $1.59 trillion.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – President Obama on Wednesday will finally lift the curtain on his long-anticipated plan to reorder how banks and other firms are regulated in the hope of preventing another financial collapse.
The far-reaching effort will include a proposal to get rid of the embattled Office of Thrift Supervision and merge it with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.
The OTS has been on the hot seat for months for its role as the overseer of American International Group and failed lenders IndyMac and Washington Mutual. The comptroller's office is a Treasury Department bureau that regulates national banks.
Obama will also call for the creation of a council of regulators to work alongside the Federal Reserve to monitor risk in the financial system, the official said. The Treasury secretary would chair the council.
In addition, Obama will propose the establishment of a new watchdog agency that would aim to protect consumers from deceptive or dangerous mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Fannie Mae, the troubled mortgage finance company, reported a first-quarter loss of $23.2 billion on Friday.
The mortgage giant also reported that it submitted a request for $19 billion from the Treasury Department to cover its losses. That followed a request earlier this year for $15.2 billion to cover 2008 losses.
It also said Treasury has doubled its support level to the company to $200 billion, as President Obama had authorized.
In its quarterly release, Fannie Mae said its entire mortgage portfolio was experiencing increases in delinquency and default rates. It blamed the rise in unemployment, falling home prices and the revaluation of homes in the wake of the economic downturn.
(CNN) - One might think the government would automatically embrace requests from several of the nation's largest banks to return the bailout money they received last fall. Not so fast. JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and at least four other others have indicated they would like to return the almost $95 billion they jointly get in TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) funds.
The Treasury Department will have to give the OK to their requests. And before that happens the government will look at the financial health of the companies to make sure they can afford to give it back. Specifically, an administration official tells CNN regulators will want to make sure the bank is stable; returning the money would not cause any ripple effects which would deepen the recession; and to make sure the institutions have enough capital to keep loans going.
The TARP program has never been popular with the many of the banks or with the American public. Just last week Treasury reported participating banks have not increased their lending. However, experts believe it has helped stabilize the banking industry at a key time of uncertainty last year.
Now showcasing healthy profits for the first quarters the banks are stepping up their efforts to give back the loans. Jamie Dimon, the CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase, last week called the program "a scarlet letter" and said on a conference call with investment analysts "We're...certainly not going to borrow from the federal government because we've learned our lesson about that."
Many of the banks believe keeping the bailout money will hurt business marking their banks as weak.
Also executives are eager to rid themselves of the restrictions attached, such as limits on executive compensation.