July 10 - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Obama Administration is still looking for a major deal on debt and the debt ceiling. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The Obama White House is still looking for a grand bargain on American debt. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told NBC's Meet the Press that the Administration is looking for something big. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, saying (English): "We are going to try to get the biggest deal possible , a deal that is best for the economy. Not just in the short term, but things that will help Americans gets some tax relief right now , like extending the payroll tax cut which is about $1,000 for the average family -- but also things to make sure that we have room to invest in our fixture, and helping those long term deficits over time." He says the economy would be put at risk without a plan that addressees the budget deficit and raises the debt ceiling by August 2nd. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, saying (English): "If Congress does not act by the 2nd they will downgrade our credit -- the first time in history -- and if that happens you are going to see catastrophic damage across the American economy and across the global economy. Failure is not an option." He offered further assurances on the debt SOUNDBITE: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, saying (English): "The United States is not going to default. We are a country that pays its bills. We are going to meet our obligations and the leadership in Congress, Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, understand that. " Later today U.S. President Barack Obama will host high level talks with Congressional leaders to try to hammer out a deal. Republicans are already saying that a broad deficit reduction plan on the scale of 4 trillion dollars is off the table. Many Republicans maintain that any deal that includes a tax increase will fail in Congress. Democrats want to shield popular domestic programs from huge cuts and say that any deal must include increases in tax revenue. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters