March 4, 2009 / 4:24 AM / 11 years ago

Geithner blames budget woes on Bush administration

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner looks at his notes as he arrives to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 3, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday blamed soaring budget deficits partly on failure by the former Bush administration to make needed investments in energy security and healthcare.

“We begin our time in office after a long period in which our government was unwilling to make the long-term investments required to meet critical challenges in health care, energy and education,” he said in prepared remarks to the Senate Finance Committee.

The Obama administration is projecting a deficit of $1.8 trillion, or 12.3 percent of gross domestic product, in fiscal 2009, which ends September 30. Geithner said $1.3 trillion of that total was inherited from the Bush administration.

Most of his testimony echoed remarks he delivered on Tuesday to the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Geithner told lawmakers on Tuesday that $43 billion of new investments will be made in clean energy technology, but on Wednesday he boosted that estimate to $65 billion.

Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Neil Stempleman

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