WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday the Obama administration
would push Congress to approve as much of its jobs plan as possible after the Senate voted to block the plan in its entirety.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Geithner said the action by Republicans to block the bill in a procedural vote would likely result in weaker U.S. growth and employment.
“We’re going to do everything we can to maximize the chance that we get as much of this done as possible,” Geithner said. “And we should, because this bill includes things that have always had broad support among Democrats and Republicans, There’s just no reason why politics should stand in the way of doing something to help the economy now.”
Asked about another bill passed by Senate on Tuesday aimed at punishing China for an undervalued currency, Geithner said he agreed with the bill’s objectives, but some parts of it would violate U.S. international trade obligations.
“We are very supportive of the objectives of that bill, which is to try to make sure that there is a level playing field around the world ... that countries can’t keep their currencies weak at the expense of American exporters,” Geithner said. “We have been pushing very, very hard to get China to move ... they’re moving too slowly we want to see them move faster.”
The Senate approved the bill by a 63-35 vote, but House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who has the power to block the legislation, has said it would be a “dangerous” step.
Should the bill advance, Geithner said Congress would need to address several provisions that are not consistent with U.S. international obligations.
“On the fundamental issue, we have a serious economic problem with China which we’re working to address and we’re open to any effective way, consistent with our international obligations, to help us create more opportunities for U.S. exporters,” he said.
Geithner also repeated his view that European policymakers will take the necessary steps to limit the fallout from the continent’s sovereign debt crisis, but added they must act more quickly and with more force and ensure European banks can continue to borrow and function.
Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Diane Craft and Andre Grenon