Geithner: GOP using 'political theater'
July 10th, 2011
11:55 AM ET
7 years ago

Geithner: GOP using 'political theater'

(CNN) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday that those who oppose raising the U.S. debt ceiling under any circumstance are just playing politics.

"It's a political moment, people are trying to get attention, they say really amazing things," Geithner told the CBS program "Face the Nation." "But there's no credible argument, no responsible leader would say the United States of America, for the first time in its history, should not pay its bills or meet its obligations."

"There's just a lot of political theater in this business," Geithner added.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is one of the conservative Republicans opposing an increase to the debt limit, regardless of whether the Obama administration and congressional leaders reach a deal on deficit reduction.

Most of the other Republican presidential candidates have said they would oppose an increase without substantial spending cuts and limits on future spending.

Negotiations are ongoing between Republicans and Democrats over a deal to raise the debt ceiling before August 2, when the Treasury Department has said the U.S. could begin defaulting on its loans. Republicans reject tax increases and Democrats will only agree to reforms in entitlement programs if wealthy Americans pay more in taxes, leaving discussions largely at a standstill.

But Geithner said plans proposed by Republicans rely too much on spending cuts, which would hurt entitlement beneficiaries. He cited a House budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as an example.

"If you try to do it with just cuts, you're putting unacceptably deep cuts in benefits for Medicare beneficiaries in the future and you can't do that politically, and it's unfair to do it," Geithner said.

- CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Republicans • Tim Geithner
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    Why do the Democrats insist on using this as another excuse to raise taxes? Cut spending. That's what Americans said loud and clear in November. It can be done. The Republicans have shown clearly how to cut spending and avoid any issues.

    July 10, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Hammerer

    And this from the guy that can not figure his income tax bill correctly.

    July 10, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. B

    Endless repetition of words we all hear over and over with no resolution whatsoever!

    God, I wish someone like Roosevelt was here now that showed some Brass and stop playing " Mr. Nice guy" with the Republicans. They do not get it and also do not care about middle America or the less fortunate among us!

    The President is looking more and more like Jimmy Carter and it will destroy his chances in 2012 with his base!
    The Republicans are wrong and Obama needs to standup and Raise he voice, if necessary, to get their attention for once.

    Nice guy, itelligent, fairminded, thoughtfull, but no stones..

    July 10, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. sue

    Republicans are WRONG.....why can't we raise Taxes? When common americans are having financial problems we do TWO things, cut spending and if we have to like mose people get a second job to bring in extra cash to pay our if the Republicans want to really fix this problem besides cutting spending they need to ask the weathy to pay their fair share of taxes to bring in more money.....the middle class can not do it by ourselves.......take away these big loop holes the rich and big corporations have to pay down our debt......the Republicans don't want that because they will lose their votes and who would be left to vote for thess fools........

    July 10, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    GOP using ‘political theater’ No they are idiots

    They lost minorities’ votes, student’s votes and women votes now they are losing seniors votes after 20 years GOP will be a minorities

    Republicans destroying their party future

    July 10, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. smarty74

    The debt ceiling has been raised 10 times since 2001 with most if not all of those raises when Bush was president. Now that Obama is president the Republicans suddenly no longer want to raise the debt ceiling. Very strange...

    July 10, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Americans need to wakeup and stop this Republican/Tea Party who are practicing Aparthied in this country by using politics to destroy the Middle Class and poor while increasing the wealth of the richest Americans. Stop them now.

    July 10, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |

    You tell them Tim! Tim tells it exactly like it is. The debt ceiling was raised 7 times under Bush by these very same republicans who are now against, why, the only reason is because there is a democrat in the White House instead of a rethuglican, plain and simple. Before 2010 the GOP was the party on NO and they are Still the party of NO, starting NO jobs. They said they would concentrate on jobs jobs jobs. The GOP{ has been in charge now for 7 months and not 1 jobs bill, not even one! If anyone wants to know the meaning of HYPOCRITE, just look at the GOP, everyone last one of them. The GOP senate leader said his number one agenda is to make the President fail, not help the country, not help the American people, but make the President fail. The GOP just doesn't understand that if the President fails, the country fails. What is much worse is that the GOP Does understand that and they just flat out don't care! There is only one answer and I hope that every American understands it, vote Democratic in 2012 for every single office, federal, state and local, it's the only way to move our great country forward.

    July 10, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Jennifer

    ""But there's no credible argument, no responsible leader would say the United States of America, for the first time in its history, should not pay its bills or meet its obligations.""

    So, in 2006 when Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, calling it "irresponsible" – he wasn't being a good leader?

    I just want to make sure I have my facts straight.

    July 10, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Anthony

    Four and the Door,

    Americans did not vote for cutting spending. Americans voted for jobs, which they had not been getting in this recession and Republicans have not done anything about creating jobs after they took over the House. Oh yeah, Republicans want to cut more taxes and have the private sector creates jobs, like it has been doing since the Bush tax cuts were passed in 2001. In case you have not noticed those jobs created with the Bush tax cuts, neither has anyone.

    July 10, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Any thing for a buck - time to end GOPorate greed.

    Everything the GOP does is hallow theater. They are from a very shallow gene pool of a swamp that desperatley needs draining. 2012 can not come soon enough.

    July 10, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    Republicans are WRONG.....why can't we raise Taxes?
    Here is the problem with raising taxes. The federal government already takes too many resources out of the economy. The economy has problems of its own with slow growth and high unemployment. Taxes only make that worse. There are three other facts that you need to consider. One is that the wealthy already pay the highest percentage of what they earn in taxes. They pay more than their fair share. The second is that America has the largest economy in the world and among the highest taxes in the world already. Large companies are already leaving America because of the high taxes. The third fact is that the Republicans have offered to rework the convoluted tax code. It is a mess. But this is a larger job than can be done before the debt limit needs to be raised.

    Bravo Speaker Boehner. Bravo! At least someone in Washington is sticking it out for the future of America and the American taxpayer!

    July 10, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. annie s

    Republicans have never cared about fairness before – why would they start now?

    July 10, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. kyle

    You cannot support three wars without raising revenue, who is the GOP kidding.

    July 10, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Name king

    Lesson these tax cuts are not creating jobs neither is the money staying in the country, how many times can you run into a wall to realized you won't win. This getting real old. You need to do something drastic to change the projection we are on. We need to give the country a massive jump start, by enacting taxes on every one to finance a modernization of America's infradtructure and transportation system. Dems need to start making up modernization blue print and start showing them to the American people In every state. And no they should not give the states this mission because the states will use the money in stupid ways then scream, the stimulus didn't work. We need a federal czar for this modernization project. Come on Obama because these corporations are not hiring unskilled regular Americans any more, it's time to step up to the plate and get millions of regular Americans who are the spenders and life line back to work.

    July 10, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    The Democrats solution is to raise taxes and keep huge government entitlement programs that the country can't afford going full steam until all we can afford is to pay for our staggering debt load and pay entitlements. It is the same mentality that has bankrupted states with huge unsustainable obligations to the unions. The same fiscal disaster the Democrats have brought to California, they now wish to bring to the entire country. Total, unabtaed fiscal spending madness until everything collapses. Is this the "fundamental change" Obama was talking about?

    July 10, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. SecedingfromTexas

    "Bravo Speaker Boehner. Bravo!"
    Boehner can't see the "target" on his back. He will be out of there as Speaker, and Cantor and MccConnell will still
    be frothing at the mouth to "take over". The wheels in their heads go round and round, round and round, the
    wheels in their heads go round and round, all through the day. No compromise makes rusty wheels and all
    they can do is squeak, squawk, squeak, sqawk.

    July 10, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    The fascists/corporatists are liars. Vote republican and you can say hello to Germany 1930s.

    July 10, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. GI Joe


    Did NOT create jobs – we were bleeding 700,000 jobs per month the final months of Shrub's reign of terror. It has got to stop. NO MORE SUBSIDIES for big oil and Bachmann's farm.

    July 10, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Mike in SA

    Yes Timmy, however it's less political theater than the Dems saying "No cuts to SS/Medicare" when they know full well that at some point they will have to have benefits reduced/delayed or we else will face complete unavoidable bankruptcy as nation. Of course your finger pointing doesn't include them now does it Timmy? By far the largest portion of our future debt crisis - that the Dems say can't be touched - and you blame the Republicans. You're nuts Timmy.

    July 10, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I guess once again the American people are WRONG because every poll I have seen says that we the people agree that raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes and the breaks given to big oil should be stopped. But what do WE know. We're just the folks that vote these people into office and then they decide what's good for us.

    July 10, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. ufadoof

    It's always a treat to read teahadists complaints that gov't isn't creating jobs. They are socialists and don't even realize it.

    July 10, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. DumbasRocks [R]s

    "Bravo Speaker Boehner."??!! Oh REALLY? Well 'bravo' to the self-identified, lame-brained neo-tard who celebrates harm to our country.

    Note that the SAME four-doored lame-brain uses the same empty rhetoric about taxes that was used by the [R]ightwing back in the early 1990s, when they cried themselves into a stupor, claiming Clinton and the [D]s were giving us the LARGEST tax increase ever and that it would surely doom the economy. SOUND FAMILIAR??? Well, what happened in the 1990s people?!! The fair rebalancing done at that time to the tax burden was one of the stepping stones to the biggest economic boom our country has ever experienced!! Don't be fooled by the empty baseless rhetoric spewing from the mouths of rightwing drama queens.

    And by the way, Four-on, if those same companies who RIGHT NOW hold trillions of dollars in cash, yet still refuse to hire Americans, are really choosing to leave our country due to taxes, I say good riddence to the anti-American low-lifes!!!!! You might want to follow them.

    July 10, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Sgt Schultz

    Both sides do ...but yes the GOP is definitely worse playing games and not being honest with their wing-nut agenda.

    July 10, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. justathought

    Why is it that so many Americans do not reconize this as a tax or spending problem. The problem is that so many jobs have been outsorced and neither party wants to or can do anything about it.

    July 10, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |