WASHINGTON Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday it is imperative that the United States cut its budget deficits, and he believes there is increasing bipartisan support in Congress to do so.
"It is absolutely imperative that we find a bipartisan solution to bring down our deficits dramatically," he said in response to questions from a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee.
Geithner also said that comments by foreign officials expressing doubt about the U.S. commitment to lower its deficits did not worry him because he believed that Congress has the will to act.
"Our challenge is to find something we can get the votes for and take advantage of this moment where there's so much commitment on both sides to do something, not just to reduce spending in that 12 percent of the budget but to lock in (lower) deficits long-term as well," he said.
Republican proposals so far to cut government spending have focused on a 12 percent slice of the budget, comprising discretionary spending in non-defense, non-security areas.
Geithner also said there is an opportunity to reach agreement with Congress for an overhaul of the corporate tax system.
"We think there's a reasonable chance of having people come together" on a plan that would lower rates and be revenue-neutral, he said in response to questions.
"I think it's worth taking a run at it," he said, adding that he has been talking with lawmakers it.
(Reporting by David Lawder and Glenn Somerville; Editing by Kenneth Barry and Dan Grebler)