Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday that Congress should stop placing legal limits on the amount of money the government can borrow and effectively "lift the debt limit to infinity." Geithner continued on to say the United State should eliminate the debt ceiling completely.
By Elizabeth Harrington
November 19, 2012
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that Congress should stop placing legal limits on the amount of money the government can borrow and effectively lift the debt limit to infinity.
On Bloomberg TV, “Political Capital” host Al Hunt asked Geithner if he believes “we ought to just eliminate the debt ceiling.”
“Oh, absolutely,” Geithner said.
“You do? Will you propose that?” Hunt asked.
“Well, this is something only Congress can solve,” Geithner said. “Congress put it on itself. We've had 100 years of experience with it, and I think only once--last summer--did people decide to use it to threaten default on the American credit for the first time in history as a tool for political advantage. And that’s not a tenable strategy.”
Hunt then asked: “Is now the time to eliminate it?”
“It would have been time a long time ago to eliminate it,” Geithner said. “The sooner the better.”
Geithner’s Treasury Department quietly warned at the end of October that the Treasury would reach current legal limit on the federal government's debt by about the end of the year.
In August 2011, President Barack Obama and Congress agreed to lift the legal debt limit by another $2.4 trillion--allowing the government to borrow up to $16.394 trillion. However, as of the close of business on Thursday, the Treasury had only $154.3 billion of that $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority left.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that the Senate stands ready to increase the debt limit by another $2.4 trillion. “If it has to be raised, we’ll raise it,” Reid said.
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