Democratic senator ‘not sure’ why Treasury Secretary Geithner still has job
A Democratic senator took some harsh swipes at President Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as she was being interviewed on a Monday morning news show.
Huffington Post’s Rachel Weiner notes, “Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said that Geithner’s plans left banks the same loopholes and encouraged the same risks that led to last year’s economic meltdown.”
“Knowing two massive exemptions in the piece of legislation the Secretary endorsed yesterday on ‘Meet the Press’ … why does Tim Geithner still have a job?” Ratigan asked.
Cantwell shot back,
I’m not sure because David Gregory had him almost — trying to get a straight answer out of him. What the Treasury Secretary basically said was, yes, banks should take more risks and we should continue the loopholes and that is really appalling because, right now, we know that lack of transparency has caused this problem with the U.S. economy and Wall Street is continuing, one year later, continuing the same kind of loopholes. And so if the Treasury Secretary doesn’t come down hard against these loopholes and advocate for closing them, then we’re going to have a tough time closing them in Congress. So the Treasury Secretary is dodging the issue.
The Hill reports that this was the second day in a row that the Democratic senator tore into Geithner.
Speaking about Geithner’s appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cantwell slammed the secretary’s defense of the financial overhaul as falling short of needed reforms.
“What the Treasury secretary basically said was that, yes, banks should take more risks and we should continue the loopholes,” she said. “And that’s really appalling because right now, we know that lack of transparency has caused this problem with the U.S. economy, and Wall Street is continuing, one year later, with the same loopholes.”
The Democratic Cantwell’s questioning of Geithner, who works for a Democratic administration, came at the prodding of Ratigan, who in a blog for the Huffington Post on Monday agitated for the secretary’s firing.
Geithner might be Obama’s most controversial administration member.
In January, The New York Times reported that he “was sworn in as secretary of the Treasury on Monday evening, confirmed by a Senate majority that concluded that his experience in government and finance outweighed concerns about recent disclosures of some $34,000 in past tax delinquencies.”
“The tax controversy had delayed Mr. Geithner’s confirmation, keeping him from taking office right after Barack Obama’s inauguration last Tuesday as administration officials had hoped, given the economic emergency,” the Times reported in January.
The Times noted then:
Three Democrats — Senators Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Tom Harkin of Iowa — voted against the nominee, as did an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont.
In a floor speech, Mr. Harkin said, ”How can Mr. Geithner speak with any credibility and authority as America’s chief tax enforcement officer?”