Lawmakers Quiet as Geithner Stays Put
Although several Republicans have been outspoken in their calls for Timothy Geithner’s resignation, they held their fire Sunday when the Treasury announced he would stay on as secretary through the fall.
Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and a few other Republicans, including tea party favorites Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), called on President Barack Obama to replace Geithner as recently as this weekend in the wake of Standard & Poor’s decision Friday to downgrade the nation’s credit rating.
“The President should demand that Secretary Geithner resign and immediately replace him with someone who will help Washington focus on balancing our budget and allowing the private sector to create jobs,” DeMint said in a statement to the Hill newspaper Friday. “For months he opposed all efforts to reduce the debt in return for a debt ceiling increase. His opposition to serious spending and debt reforms has been reckless and now the American people will pay the price.”
But on Sunday evening those same Members kept mum.
Geithner was reportedly considering stepping down after the debt deal negotiations were complete but decided to keep his post with coaxing from the administration.
“Secretary Geithner has let the president know that he plans to stay on in his position at Treasury,” a spokeswoman for the Treasury said in a statement. “He looks forward to the important work ahead on the challenges facing our great country.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Sunday that the president had asked Geithner to stay and “welcomes his decision.”
With the economy still reeling, Geithner’s choice to stay on board avoids what would surely be a politically challenging and perilous Senate confirmation process for a replacement.
The Senate confirmed Geithner as the 75th secretary of the Treasury in January 2009, and he is one of the few faces from that original economic team to remain with the administration. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee left the White House on Friday to return to the University of Chicago. Lawrence Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, resigned last fall, and Budget Director Peter Orszag departed just a few months before.