WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the House must start deliberations on Monday to meet the Aug. 2 debt limit deadline, and that a framework for an agreement is needed today.
“For us to get this done by Aug. 2, which is critical, and that’s the deadline all the leaders accept, they need to start this process in the House Monday night,” Geithner said in remarks taped for today on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
It is critical forCongress to approve a new debt ceiling that gets the country into 2013, past the November 2012 presidential election, said Geithner, who said he is confident that a deal will be done in time to avoid default.
"The most important thing is that we remove this threat of default from the country for the next 18 months," Geithner said. "What the leaders know is that they need to agree on something together that will pass the House, pass the Senate that the president can accept."
President Barack Obama communicated with all congressional leaders throughout the day on Saturday as lawmakers and the White House tried to find a way to lift the $14.3 trillion limit on U.S. borrowing by an Aug 2 deadline, Geithner said.
He also said that House Speaker John Boehner's two-tiered proposal to lift the debt ceiling through the end of 2011 and then do it again later does not have the votes to pass Congress and it was not acceptable to the White House.
"What we cannot do — because it would be irresponsible — is to leave the threat of default hanging over the American economy for a longer period of time," Geithner said.
The treasury secretary also acknowledged that the U.S. economy slowed "a lot" in the first half of 2011 and that growth should be better in the second half. He also said the jobless rate is unacceptably high.
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