Optimist Geithner Expects GOP Support on Reform

Treasury Secretary Timothy GeithnerU.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has not wavered in his outlook on the hotly-debated financial overhaul bill in the Senate – it will pass with Republican support, he again asserted on national television.
His optimism defies a seemingly united front among Republican senators against the bill’s various provisions, but primarily its proposed oversight of the largest financial firms and a liquidation fund of $50 billion.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell last week launched a campaign labeling the legislation a pro-bailout vehicle.
Geithner said McConnell’s contention is “absolutely not true” during an interview yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press. He went on to say that he has met with Republicans and that they agree on the “vast bulk” of the reform framework, although differences remain on curbs on derivatives and a consumer protection agency.
“It’s absolutely not true, and some of his members say it was a bit over-the-top,” Geithner said, referring to McConnell’s denouncement of the bill.
All 41 Republican senators signed off on a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week affirming their opposition to the reform proposals.
“I spent a lot of time with Republicans over the last several months and the last few weeks, even last week,” Geithner said on Meet the Press. “And I believe that we are very close on this.  That we agree on the vast bulk of the things.”
On the very issue that McConnell and other Republicans have focused their opposition – oversight of institutions by a new regulatory council – Geithner believes there is general agreement.  The reform bill written by Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd is meant to end the “too big to fail’ posture of the past which fueled government bailouts during the financial crisis.
“But on ‘too big to fail,’ on making sure we protect the taxpayer, I think we’re very close and we’re in broad agreement,” Geithner said. “I’m very confident you’ll see Republicans vote for this.”

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