Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Talks Fiscal Future

4798 Republicans have effectively ceded the debt ceiling as a political weapon, opening what could be a more productive and less economically dangerous period of fiscal debate, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in an exit interview with POLITICO.
Geithner, who leaves the administration on Friday, said the move by House Republicans to support a three-month waiver of the debt limit means future fiscal negotiations will likely pose less of a risk of economic calamity if they fail.

"It certainly looks like they decided that it's not effective leverage, because you can't threaten the unthinkable and expect to get any leverage," Geithner said. "So, I think that's encouraging. But to be fair, I don't think it's clear what their next step is on this issue."

Republicans took issue with Geithner's characterization, saying the debt limit would continue to play at least some role in fiscal negotiations.

"The No Budget No Pay Act put Republicans on the strongest ground possible to achieve the spending cuts needed for any long-term debt limit increase," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. "The debt limit exists to force Washington to deal with its budget -- just as American families must do -- and we'll continue to use it that way."

Beyond the debt limit issue, Geithner firmly ruled out ever serving as chairman of the Federal Reserve, something that has been mentioned by people close to the outgoing secretary as a possibility down the road.

"Not a chance," he said. "I have great respect for the institution, but that will be someone else's privilege."

Geithner is returning to New York to be with his family and said he has no immediate plans beyond relaxing and traveling with his wife.

Source: Politico.com | BEN WHITE and MIKE ALLEN
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