Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has a simple message for House Republicans threatening to repeal or gut one of President Obama’s top legislative achievements: I am calling your bluff.
At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters this morning, Geithner dismissed GOP leaders who say they’ll gum up the implementation Wall Street reform if they retake the House this November, calling their threats “inconceivable.”
“The reason why this bill became law was because Republicans decided they could not block it,” Geithner said in response to a question from TPMDC. “That it was untenable to block it. Because they did not want to be in the position of saying they looked at a system that produced this level of disaster for the American economy — with a system that did not work, did not serve corporate America, businesses across the country — they did not want to be in the position of blocking change.”Geithner didn’t downplay the possibility that the Republicans would prevail in the fall, limiting his comments only to the consequences of GOP control of the House.
“Now, of course, as you saw, they didn’t particularly want to be part of [making] change,” Geithner added. But “it’s inconceivable to me that they would find it compelling to try to undo the basic architecture of the reforms.”
Republicans make no bones about their plans. “We need to repeal this new Big Government program and replace it with common sense reform that protects taxpayers from bailouts, helps put Americans back to work and deals with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” reads a statement from Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence.
A week ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner led the charge. “I think it ought to be repealed,” he said. “There are common sense things we should do to plug the holes in the regulatory system that were there and to bring more transparency to financial transactions,” he said. “Because transparency is like sunlight, and sunlight is the best disinfectant.”