Geithner Says Administration Seeking Debt-Limit Deal This Week

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the Obama administration is aiming to forge a deal on raising the debt ceiling as soon as this week.

“We want to wrap up the broad outlines of this agreement by the end of this week, certainly by the end of next week,” Geithner said today at a Women in Finance Symposium in Washington.

Congressional leaders will meet again today at the White House to negotiate raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit before Aug. 2, when Geithner has said the government will exhaust its borrowing authority. Geithner said today that a deal will be reached in time to avoid a default.

“The debt limit will be raised,” he said in prepared remarks. “Failure is not an option. Both sides understand what is at stake and will come to an agreement.”

Geithner also said that President Barack Obama’s goal is “the largest deal possible.” He said an agreement must preserve the economic recovery in the near term and reinforce growth in the long term.

The president is “willing to achieve savings across government from defense to entitlements as long as they are done responsibly, over time,” Geithner said. “But the Republicans are going to have to do some difficult things too. You can’t ask middle-class families and retirees to bear the entire sacrifice for those savings on their own.”

Republicans have rebuffed Democratic calls for more tax revenue and are pushing to cut programs such as Medicare and Social Security. The White House has indicated a willingness to consider savings including an increase in the Medicare-eligibility age as part of a larger deal.

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