Geithner urges Congress to back jobs bill

WASHINGTON Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:29pm EDT

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WASHINGTON Oct 25 (Reuters) - U.S. growth will pick up and unemployment will decline if Congress acts on a package of proposals from Obama administration to create jobs, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday.

In an interview with "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", Geithner suggested Republicans' refusal to back administration proposals was contributing to the difficulty in spurring growth.

"Without Republicans willing to move on tax cuts for the average American, tax cuts for businesses, infrastructure investments to rebuild America, then the economy will be weaker," Geithner said. "That's a basic reality."

Asked whether national unemployment would be below 9 percent by the time November 2012 elections roll around, Geithner declined to specify but said there could be more jobs available.

"If...they act on these proposals, then growth will be stronger and unemployment will be lower, and you'll see more Americans back to work," he said." If they don't act then we risk a weaker economy and higher unemployment."

The Obama administration proposed a $447 billion package of tax reductions and spending initiatives earlier this month, but it was blocked in the Senate by Republicans. Democrats are now trying to get parts of the plan passed bit by bit.

CBS released portions of its interview with Geithner ahead of its full broadcast.

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