Bill Weld

Former governor of Massachusetts
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Bill Weld dropped out of the presidential race on March 18, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Weld was the first candidate to announce he was challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, saying he would “fear for the Republic” if the President were reelected. Weld was the vice presidential nominee on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016.
Harvard College, B.A., 1966; Harvard Law, JD, 1970
July 31, 1945
Leslie Marshall; divorced from Susan Roosevelt Weld
David, Ethel, Mary, Quentin and Frances
Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997;
Assistant attorney general, 1986-1988;
US attorney for District of Massachusetts, 1981-1986;
Staffer, House Judiciary Committee, 1973-1974
Oil prices soar as Trump talks up huge production cuts and Saudi Arabia calls for OPEC meeting
Updated 2:22 PM ET, Thu Apr 2, 2020
Hopes are building for a truce in the brutal oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. President Donald Trump suggested massive production cuts could be on the way and Saudi Arabia called for an "urgent" meeting between OPEC, Russia and other unnamed nations to restore "balance" to the oil market. Even though no date has been set for such a meeting — and no deal on cutting production has yet been announced — the oil market celebrated wildly. US oil prices soared as much as 35% to $27.39 a barrel after Trump said on Twitter that he hopes and expects Saudi Arabia and Russia will slash output by between 10 million and 15 million barrels per day. His tweet followed a call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "If it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!" the US president tweeted. Saudi Arabia and Russia have been locked in an epic price war since early March, flooding the oil market with cheap crude just as demand is cratering because of the coronavirus pandemic. Crude has crashed to 18-year lows, crushing American oil companies and energy stocks. 'Burden sharing' Although Trump suggested the deep cuts would be coming solely from Saudi Arabia and Russia, there are signs that OPEC is looking for other countries, including perhaps the United States, to join in. "We need to see burden sharing," a source within the OPEC+ alliance told CNN Business' John Defterios. "Not fair for two or three producers within OPEC+ to carry most of the responsibility. Previous cuts by OPEC and its allies have given US shale producers room to capture market share. The United States recently surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer. "The Saudis are absolutely crystal clear that they are not doing this alone. It's not just a Saudi-Russia cut," said Helima Croft, RBC Capital's global head of commodity strategy. "They're done with the situation where they cut and the US grows." Trump also tweeted that bin Salman had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, the Kremlin denied such a phone call had taken place, news that took some of the heat out of the huge spike in oil prices. They remain about 20% up on the day. A truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia would aid an oil market that analysts estimate is oversupplied by around 25 million barrels per day. Demand for transport fuels in particular has been decimated by travel restrictions aimed at containing the pandemic. 'Completely unrealistic' The official Saudi Press Agency said in a tweet Thursday that the kingdom is seeking a meeting for members of the OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia, "and another group of countries" in an attempt to try to reach a "fair solution to restore the desired balance of the oil markets." It's not clear who would be part of that additional group of countries. The tweet said the invitation is part of Saudi Arabia's efforts to support the global economy "and in appreciation of the US President's request and the US friends' request." Analysts expressed skepticism that Saudi Arabia and Russia would suddenly reverse course and slash production by nearly as much as Trump suggested. "This is a completely unrealistic expectation," said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData. Smith pointed out that even the low end of Trump's touted production cuts, 10 million barrels, amounts to virtually all of Saudi Arabia's output. "From a logic standpoint, from a political standpoint, it doesn't make any sense," he said. Big cuts by Russia would undermine its goal of drowning high-cost US shale producers in a sea of cheap oil. The recent crash in oil prices to $20 a barrel will likely set off a wave of bankruptcies and job cuts in the US oil industry, including in many Republican-leaning states. Demand, not supply, is the No. 1 problem Production cuts by Russia and Saudi Arabia would ease a great deal of pressure in the oil market. However, the primary cause of the oil crash is weak demand, not excess supply. The extreme restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic have caused an unprecedented collapse in oil demand. Highways are empty. Passenger jets have been parked. And factories are not operating. US gasoline demand, the No. 1 swing factor for global oil demand, is plunging because most Americans have been forced to work from home. IHS Markit estimates that US gasoline demand could collapse by more than 50% during the coronavirus response period. That would easily surpass the demand lost during the Great Recession. All of this means that even if there is a truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia, prices may remain under pressure. — John Defterios contributed to this article.
climate crisis
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Weld told Hill.TV in November 2019: “What we have to do is keep Earth temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees between now and 2050, and the way you do that is by putting a price on carbon, an upstream price at the well head at the mine shaft and then people can make their own decisions about how much carbon they want to emit into the atmosphere.” He said: “It’s not a command and control situation. We’re not telling people what to do, they make their own decisions, and that’s letting the market decide about carbon, it’s a much more powerful engine than just saying I’m going to spend $10 trillion to promote clean energy. You don’t know if you’re going to get there.” He said in an interview with Journal Review that the US should rejoin the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has abandoned.
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Weld says his top priority on day one if he is elected is to file legislation to cut spending. According to his campaign website, he also wants to increase technical education and help workers who lose their jobs to automation by making community college and online tuition available to them. Weld said he would work with Congress to end “corporate welfare.” He would also audit the Federal Reserve and work to pass a balanced budget amendment. Weld tweeted in February 2019: “In the federal budget, the two most important tasks are to cut spending and to cut taxes – and spending comes first. We need to ‘zero base’ the federal budget, basing each appropriation on outcomes actually achieved, not on last year’s appropriation plus 5%.”
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Weld proposes that two years of community college and the last two years of tuition at state colleges or universities should be free. He said his administration would review the federal loan process to make sure students aren’t loaned amounts they won’t be able to pay off. He says Congress should get rid of the provision that does not allow student debt to be renegotiated. He said he would prioritize reducing the interest rate on federal student loans and would extend scholarships for vocational training. Weld delivered a speech in February 2019 in which he said, according to “Parents need more options regarding the education of their children. We need to support school choice. We need to support home schooling. We need to support charter schools. And we need to consider abolishing the US Department of Education, transferring decision-making authority to the states and the parents of school-age and college-age children.”
gun violence
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Weld said in an interview with Independent Journal Review that in order to combat gun violence, “I don’t think we want to focus on gun ownership. I do think that the 300 million rifles in private hands, lawfully acquired, constitutes a bulwark against a government overreaching. The real reason for the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, in my judgment, is not so people can go hunting. It’s really so people will have the guns in self-defense. … All guns are dangerous, and to address the school shootings and terrible mass murders, one obvious thing is to do everything possible to keep firearms — of any sort — out of the hands of people who are unstable and have any history of mental illness.”
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Weld proposes amending and building upon certain features of the Affordable Care Act. He also wants to bring back low-cost health insurance plans. He plans to provide hospital vouchers for veterans who want to pick different facilities. Weld said he would encourage companies to provide family and medical leave by providing tax incentives and credits. He would also push for Medicare to be permitted to negotiate prescription drug prices. Weld said in an interview with Independent Journal Review: “I think we need less government in the health care system. I think individuals should have their own tax-advantaged health savings accounts so that they can save up for the amount of protection that they wanted.”
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Weld pledges to make it easier for people to enter our country and contribute to the economy.Weld said his administration would expand the work visa program, put an end to mass deportations and simplify the adjudication process for immigration. Weld said in an interview with Independent Journal Review: “I think we should have more work visas, not less. Enforce them but have them available. We should have a guest worker program similar to Canada’s where people come and work for four months of the agricultural season or the construction season. … And I think the whole notion that the 11 million people who have overstayed their visas — so-called undocumented immigrants — a lot of those people just overstayed their visa. And to say all of them automatically have to get citizenship, that’s just crazy.”
Wall Street grapples with unemployment claims and rallying oil prices: April 2, 2020
Updated 2:16 PM ET, Thu Apr 2, 2020
The major US stock indexes have pulled back from their highs in the early afternoon. The rally earlier in the day came on the back of a jump in energy stocks as oil prices soared following President Donald Trump's call for production cuts. Trump said in a tweet he has spoken to leaders in Saudi Arabia and Russia about the cutbacks in oil production. Saudi Arabia has since called for an emergency OPEC meeting, while Russia denied the conversation with Trump. Oil prices are still up in the afternoon but have lost some steam. The same goes for energy stocks, which are off their highs. The Dow was up 0.2%, or 40 points. At its high point, the index had been up more than 500 points. The S&P 500 was up just 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite was flat. Coca-Cola is not planning to lay off workers at this point, CEO James Quincey confirmed to CNN's Poppy Harlow in an interview on Thursday. "We have not made any global restructuring," Quincey said, reiterating statements he made last week, adding that Coca-Cola is "a long-term company trying to do our best.”  Still, Quincey has dire predictions for the next few months. "Clearly this virus, this pandemic, is having an economic impact. I think we’re going to see the worst of it starting from March through to May," he said, adding that he expects a "deep shock" to the economy in the second quarter. The pandemic has already had a devastating impact on jobs. Businesses are closing their doors to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. In the week ending March 28, 6.6 million US workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Labor. Coca-Cola is taking its own measures to try to protect workers, including spreading people out in production facilities, instructing employees to work remotely if they can and offering paid sick leave to people who get sick with coronavirus or think they might be ill. IBM (IBM) has created a new tool within its Watson artificial intelligence system to help government agencies, health care organizations and schools field questions about coronavirus. The tool, called Watson Assistant for Citizens, is designed to get data and information to citizens quickly -- and potentially cut down on wait times for calls to local hospitals and other authorities. For example, the City of Lancaster in California is using the tool to answer questions from citizens about coronavirus symptoms and what to do in case of infection. The Watson Assistant for Citizens draws guidance from national sources like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as from local sources for information like school closures, town news and state documents. The tool can be deployed over the phone or online, and it uses IBM's Natural Language Processing technology to understand people's questions. IBM is offering the Watson Assistant free for 90 days, and it's already being deployed in several US states plus the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Goldman Sachs (GS) announced a $300 million coronavirus relief package to support small businesses and communities during the outbreak. The bank will provide $250 million in low-interest emergency loans and $25 million in grants to community development financial institutions. A separate $25 million fund will support the hardest-hit communities, Goldman said in a press release. We are deploying our capital and expertise to help small businesses navigate the incredible burdens they face, while ensuring that health providers and relief organizations have the funds they need to fulfill their missions,” said Goldman CEO and chairman David Solomon. Saudi Arabia is calling for an "urgent" meeting meeting between OPEC and other nations in hopes of reaching a production cut deal that could aid the battered oil market. The Saudi Press Agency said in a tweet Thursday morning that the kingdom is seeking a meeting for OPEC+ states "and another group of countries" in an attempt to try to reach a "fair solution to restore a desire balance of the oil markets." It's not clear who would be part of that additional group of countries. Since early March, Saudi Arabia and Russia have been engaged in an epic price war, flooding the market with excess oil and driving down prices. The tweet said the invitation is part of Saudi Arabia's efforts to support the global economy "and in appreciation of the US President's request and the US friends' request." Earlier, US oil prices spiked as much as 35% after President Donald Trump suggested Saudi Arabia and Russia could slash production by 10 million to 15 million barrels per day. "Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia," Trump said in the tweet. However, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russia's president, told Russian state media there was no such conversation between Putin and MBS. US oil prices pared their gains but are still up a stunning 20% on the day. It's been a wild morning for stocks. The major US indexes were all over the place when markets opened but are steadily rallying mid-morning. The Dow is up 1.7%, or 350 points, while the S&P 500 is up 1.7%. The Nasdaq Composite is 1.3% higher. Energy stocks are by far the best performing sector after oil prices jumped dramatically this morning following President Donald Trump's call for production cuts. The S&P's top performers are all in the energy industry, and the sector is up more than 12%. The oil market is going wild after President Donald Trump suggested Saudi Arabia and Russia could reach a truce that would slash production by 10 million barrels per day. US crude skyrocketed as much as 35% to $27.39 a barrel Thursday morning after Trump's tweet. "I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!" Trump tweeted. Crude was recently trading up 28% to $26 a barrel. Oil prices crashed to 18-year lows earlier this week in part because Russia and Saudi Arabia are flooding the market with cheap oil at the worst possible time. A deal to end that price war and instead reduce production would be a big positive for the depressed oil market. However, it's weak demand -- not excess supply -- that's the primary cause of the oil crash. The extreme health restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented collapse in oil demand. That means even if there is a truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia, oil prices could remain under pressure. PepsiCo is adding millions of dollars to the fight against coronavirus. The food and beverage maker announced it is setting aside a total of $45 million to fund Covid-19 relief efforts around the world. In a written statement, Pepsi (PEP) said a total of $15.8 million will be spent on US coronavirus aid. Most of that money will fund meals for low-income children, but some will pay for protective gear for medical staffers and financial support for laid off restaurant workers. An additional $29.2 million will go to relief efforts in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. “We’re activating our global resources to do this now and provide other essential relief, and we will continue to do so as the world unites to tackle COVID-19,” PepsiCo Chairman & CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a written statement.  The Federal Reserve really wants America's big banks to help fight the coronavirus crisis. The Fed announced a rule change late Wednesday aimed at giving big banks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Citigroup (C) the ability to ramp up lending and smooth out turbulence in the Treasury market. The US central bank will now exclude US Treasuries and deposits left at the Fed from how supplementary leverage ratios are calculated. In theory, that should give banks more flexibility to make loans and act as market makers. Banks are getting flooded with deposits from Americans nervous about the pandemic. That influx forces lenders to set aside ultra-safe assets they can quickly sell in case they were faced with heavy withdrawals, particularly in a bank run. And that leaves banks with less space to make much-needed loans to cash-strapped consumers and businesses. It also limits big banks' ability to act as market makers -- a critical role given recent turmoil in the Treasury market. "Liquidity conditions in Treasury markets have deteriorated rapidly," the Fed in a statement. KBW analyst Brian Kleinhanzl said the rule change shows the Fed "views the largest banks as 'solutions' within the current crisis and not 'causes.'" It was only a few days ago that the stock of Luckin Coffee (LK), China's answer to Starbucks (SBUX), was soaring on hopes that the Chinese economy was recovering. But Luckin dropped a bomb on investors Thursday, disclosing in an SEC filing that the company was looking into possible accounting fraud that artificially lifted sales. Making matters worse, Luckin indicated that its COO Jian Liu was involved in helping to fabricate transactions. Shares were down more than 75% in late morning trading. Read more about the Luckin accounting probe here. Wall Street is attempting to shrug off a startling spike in jobless claims. US markets opened flat, traded higher and then moved into the red Thursday morning. The very choppy action comes after a new report showed initial unemployment claims skyrocketed to record highs because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow dropped 120 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 fell 0.2%. The Nasdaq lost 0.4%. Markets were poised for a strong rally before 8:30 am ET. That's when the Labor Department said 6.6 million people filed claims for initial unemployment benefits in the week ended March 28. That shatters the previous record of 3.3 million the week before. The dreary labor news is another reminder of the severe shock the health crisis is delivering to the American economy. Discount retailer Ross Stores (ROST) is putting a "majority" of its employees on furlough beginning Sunday. The company employs 92,500 people across its 1,546 stores in 39 states, according to regulatory filings. Affected employees will still continue to receive their company-funded healthcare. Ross stores are closed and it's unclear when they will reopen. In a press release, the company said that furloughs will help it "further enhance liquidity and strengthen its ability to manage through these challenging times." Millions more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, as businesses continue to lay off and furlough workers amid the coronavirus outbreak. 6.6 million workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits in the week ending March 28 -- a new historic high. A week earlier, 3.3 million Americans filed for their first week of benefits, which was the largest number ever at the time. It was the highest number of initial claims filed in history, surpassing last week’s 3.3 million claims. Oil prices spiked off 18-year lows Thursday after President Donald Trump predicted Saudi Arabia and Russia could soon make peace in their disastrous oil war. US crude soared more than 10% to $22.50 a barrel on hopes the two nations will stop flooding the market with cheap oil. Brent, the world benchmark, also climbed 10% to $27.30 a barrel even though no deal has yet been announced. Trump said Wednesday that he believes "Russia and Saudi Arabia are going to make a deal at some time in the not-too-distant future." "It's very bad for Russia. It's very bad for Saudi Arabia. It's very bad," the US president said of the oil crash. Trump raised the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call earlier this week. The two leaders agreed to hold further talks. But even if Russia and Saudi Arabia agree to supply cuts, it won't solve all that ails the oil market. Beyond the excess supply, the biggest problem is that coronavirus travel restrictions have caused unprecedented declines in demand for oil. And that's something that not even Trump and Putin can solve overnight. US stock futures are pointing to a higher open on Thursday. But before the opening bell rings, the Department of Labor is releasing initial jobless claims for the week ended March 28. It's looking to be another one for the history books, with the consensus estimate at 3.5 million people filing for unemployment benefits. That would outpace last week's historical record of nearly 3.3 million. But last week, stocks shrugged off the dramatic data point and rallied, proving that the market has already priced in much of the bad news to come. Dow futures are up 1.9%, or nearly 400 points. S&P 500 futures are also 1.9% higher, while those for the Nasdaq Composite are up 1.6%. Demand for used cars was very strong at CarMax earlier this year. The dealer said Thursday that sales rose nearly 15% in the three month period that ended in February. Earnings topped forecasts too. But that was before the coronavirus became a huge problem for America's economy. Stores (including some CarMax dealerships) throughout the country have shut down and many consumers have resorted to online shopping. That's bad news for CarMax. The company said in its earnings report that it had strong sales in the first week of March too but that since then "sales have dropped significantly." "Over the past few weeks, approximately half of our stores have closed or are running under limited operations. For our stores that are open, consumer demand has progressively deteriorated," the company added. Investors seemed to be focusing on the positive though. CarMax (KMX) shares rose nearly 5% in early trading. The broader market was higher too. But CarMax CEO Bill Nash, like many other corporate executives, was not afraid to say he has no idea what's coming next. That's one reason why the stock is still down about 40% so far this year. "The situation is dynamic and changing quickly, making it difficult to predict what the immediate future holds," Nash said in the earnings release. The nation's airlines are preparing to file for $50 billion in federal assistance to help see them through the coronavirus crisis. But they're also turning to lines of credit they arranged from major banks to provide them with the cash they need. American Airlines disclosed in a filing that it had drawn down $2.7 billion on Wednesday from three revolving lines of credit that it had agreed to between 2013 and 2016. Southwest disclosed it drew down $2.3 billion from a recent credit line. The airline also confirmed it would file for help from the federal government. The economic rescue package passed by Congress last week provides for $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in borrowing assistance for the nation's passenger airlines. The number of passengers going through TSA screening at US airports has fallen by 93% compared to a year ago, leaving them with virtually no revenue coming in. Starbucks (SBUX) is extending the closures of its cafes for another month. Drive-thru and delivery options are still available. The company originally announced the closures for its US and Canada stores in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond May 3, Starbucks intends to "slowly begin to adjust back to more normal operating models and benefits plans, recognizing that the COVID-19 situation in each community is still incredibly different and fluid," it said in a release. Employees that are working will receive additional $3 per hour and the company is offering benefits to all workers whether they are working or not during this period. Government data to be published at 8:30 a.m. ET will reveal just how much damage efforts to contain the pandemic have done to the US labor market. Economists surveyed by Reuters estimate that 3.5 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week. Some Wall Street banks put the number even higher; Goldman Sachs (GS) predicts that a shocking 6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims, nearly twice the record set during the previous week. Kevin Giddis, the chief fixed income strategist at Raymond James, said in a research note that investors are still getting to grips with a wave of sobering news about the coronavirus, and realizing the economic recovery may take much longer than expected. "The data suggests that we may be in for a long spring and possibly still dealing with it in the summer," he wrote in a research note. Investors, he said, should "keep in mind that [market] volatility is likely to be with us for a while and that days of extreme highs and lows may be part of what could be a called a 'normal trading pattern.' " A global stocks sell-off spurred by coronavirus fears eased on Thursday ahead of a report that is expected to show that millions more Americans lost their jobs last week. Asian markets were mixed following a rough start to the second quarter: Japan's Nikkei 225 (N225) fell 1.4% Hong Kong's Hang Seng (HSI) added 0.4%  Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) increased 1.7% European markets opened with small gains: Germany's DAX (DAX) added 0.07% France's CAC 40 (CAC40) increased 0.30% The FTSE 100 (UKX) gained 0.12% in London