WASHINGTON Dec 5 U.S. Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday that the country would go
over a year-end fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts,
unless Republicans agreed to Democrat's demand to raise tax
rates on the richest U.S. households.
"There is no prospect (for) an agreement that doesn't
involve rates going up on the top 2 percent of the wealthiest
Americans," Geithner told CNBC television in an interview.
"What we need to see is have them acknowledge that they are
prepared to see rates go up. And if they are willing to accept
that, and commit to that as part of an agreement, then we think
we can do something really good for the American economy."
Geithner also spelled out that a deal to avoid the fiscal
cliff must also involve a change in congressional rules that
would make it much harder to block an increase in the U.S. debt
"We are not prepared to have the American economy held
hostage to periodic threats that Republicans will force the
country to default on our obligations," Geithner said.