Geithner Expects GOP Support for Financial Reforms

Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:28am

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Sunday predicted Republicans would ultimately support financial regulatory reform legislation making its way through Capitol Hill.

“I am very confident you will see Republican votes for this,” Geithner said. “There is no politics in this — it’s not a partisan thing.”

Geithner made his prediction on “Meet the Press,” despite several Republican Members expressing opposition to the bill on the Sunday morning talk shows and the newest GOP Senator threatening to filibuster it.

“The present bill is not a good bill, period. I’ve reviewed it, we’ve analyzed it,” said Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who confirmed he would filibuster the bill on his first appearance on a Sunday morning talk show. Brown defended Republican opposition to the bill and stood up for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.), who has been criticized for not offering any specific compromises to the legislation.

“He’s not saying ‘no’ to financial reform. … That’s never the impression that I got in the 73 days that I’ve been there,” Brown said on “Face the Nation.”

Brown wasn’t the only Republican pointing out the failings of the financial reform bill Sunday morning. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that the financial reform bill has to ensure there are no longer banks that are “too big to fail” and that he does not believe the current bill achieves that.

“I think we have to make an argument that we can’t see a regulatory scheme which would then allow a repetition of this meltdown we have seen, that we saw a year and a half ago,” McCain said. “Our effort has to be to say ‘Look we’ll sit down, but we want to see a scheme that ensures the fundamental principle that never again is any institution too big to fail.’ And I don’t think that this present legislation before us can guarantee that.”

Geithner said the bill does guarantee that “taxpayers will not be on the hook” for future bailouts.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who sits on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, defended the legislation on CNN’s “State of the Union” and called out his GOP colleagues for specific suggestions on how to improve the legislation.

“I’d like to hear from McConnell and others some specifics and not just general attacks,” Warner said, calling for “three or four suggestions” on how to improve the bill. He emphasized the importance of the bill as well.

“We realize if we mess this up, this will have huge implications downstream,” he added.
On the same program, McConnell blasted the bill for increasing government intervention in the financial market.

“Look, I don’t know anybody in the Senate who thinks we ought not to pass a bill,” McConnell said. “The question is what it is going to look like. We want to make sure that we don’t set up a system whereby we empower the government to continue doing what it’s been doing: running banks, insurance companies, car companies. We’ve now seen them nationalize the student loan business.”

CNN host Candy Crowley questioned McConnell for meeting with Wall Street executives in New York and bringing National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas).

“Sen. Cornyn is a United States Senator from Texas, McConnell said. “He is going to be voting on this issue like all the rest of us are, simply because we are all involved in politics, as is the president. It doesn’t mean that we can’t discuss issues with people that we meet around the country who are deeply involved and concerned about what we are doing.”

McConnell also said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) would lose his party’s support if he decides to run as an Independent in the open-seat Senate race in the Sunshine State. Public polls have shown Crist trailing former Florida Speaker Marco Rubio in the GOP primary for Senate, and the governor has publicly flirted with the strategy of running as an Independent instead.

“I think we’re going to elect a Republican Senator in Florida, and the primary voters in Florida are going to determine who that is,” McConnell said. “[Crist] would lose all Republican support if he were to run as an Independent.”