Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner disputes report he is stepping down soon
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Thursday disputed a report that he was considering resigning after the conclusion of negotiations with Congress to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, saying he would continue in the job “for the foreseeable future.”
“I live for this work,” he told former President Clinton during a question-and-answer session in Chicago as part of a conference by the Clinton Global Initiative.
Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Geithner has signaled to the White House he might want to step down after the conclusion of the difficult negotiations, in which he has been deeply involved. The nation is set to hit its debt limit Aug. 2.
The report said one factor was the desire of Geithner's son to attend his last year of high school in New York, where the family lived before Geithner joined the administration in 2009. Geithner and his wife, Carole Sonnenfeld Geithner, have two children and live in Bethesda, Md., but still own a home in Larchmont, N.Y.
Geithner said he would continue as Treasury secretary after the school year begins in the fall.
“My son’s going back to New York to finish high school,” he told Clinton. “I’m going to be commuting for a while, but I’m going to be doing this for the foreseeable future.”
Geithner is the last remaining member of the team of top economic advisors President Obama brought with him into his administration, and his potential departure has been the subject of conjecture since just a couple of months into the job.
But Geithner's influence has risen as other key officials have stepped down over the last year, most notably Lawrence H. Summers, who had served as the director of the National Economic Council.
The average tenure of the last 10 Treasury secretaries has been about 32 months. Geithner has served 29 months so far. Geithner also served from 2003 until early 2009 as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In that position, he played a key role in responding to the financial crisis in 2008.
“I think he’s done a great job in a back-breaking position. He may even have a harder job than the secretary of State,” Clinton said. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, serves as Obama’s secretary of State.
Geithner’s departure could be a problem for Obama. Senate Republicans have blocked or threatened to block the confirmation of many nominees. Getting a new Treasury secretary confirmed would be difficult and would give Republicans additional leverage in their battles with the White House.
-- Jim Puzzanghera
Photo: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and former President Clinton discuss the debt limit in Chicago on Thursday. Credit: Reuters.