* Geithner has made clear won't serve in second term
* Unclear Senate will approve new Treasury chief by then
* Obama chief of staff seen as candidate for Treasury post
By Rachelle Younglai
WASHINGTON, Nov 9 U.S. Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner plans to stay on into early next year to help
the Obama administration forge a deal with lawmakers to avert a
looming fiscal crisis, the White House said on Friday.
The Obama administration and Congress have less than two
months to stave off the "fiscal cliff," a $600 billion
combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that could throw the
economy back into recession if Washington does not take action.
"Geithner has indicated that he will stay on through
inauguration and he will be, obviously, a key participant in the
negotiations around the so-called fiscal cliff issues," White
House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
Geithner has long said he planned to step down if President
Barack Obama won a second term, after a grueling several years
dealing with the financial crisis, a deep recession and
lackluster recovery, first as head of the New York Federal
Reserve Bank and later as Obama's Treasury chief.
In helping the White House negotiate last year's budget deal
to raise the debt limit and cut the deficit, Geithner won over
many Republicans, who viewed him as reasonable and willing to
listen to their concerns.
On Friday, Obama, who was re-elected on Tuesday, said he was
prepared to compromise with Republicans, but was adamant that a
tax increase for the wealthiest Americans be part of any debt
It is not clear who Obama will pick to replace Geithner, but
his chief of staff and former budget director, Jack Lew, is seen
as a favorite because of his expertise and the fact that budget
and tax reform could dominate the administration's domestic
The White House did not have a specific date for when
Geithner would leave and would not comment on whether he would
stay until the administration brokered a budget deal.
It was also unclear if the Senate would have time to confirm
a successor before Obama is sworn in for his second term on Jan.
21, given the urgency of the fiscal talks and the number of
other important positions that have to be filled.
Obama will want to move quickly to replace Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, who is also p lanning to leave, and CIA
Director David Petraeus, who resigned abruptly on Friday, citing
an extramarital affair.
Another possible contender for the Treasury job is Erskine
Bowles, who was President Bill Clinton's chief of staff and who
was appointed by Obama to help craft a deficit reduction plan.
Roger Altman, a Clinton-era deputy treasury secretary and
co-founder of investment firm Evercore Partners; Sheryl
Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook; and Laurence
Fink, the chief executive of asset manager BlackRock, are other
names that have been floated.