Treasury Secretary Geithner Considers Stepping Down

Secretary Geithner is considering stepping down from his position at the U.S. Treasury after President Obama reaches an agreement with Congress to raise the national debt limit.

Geithner’s decision is not yet final, nor will he make a final decision until the debt ceiling issue has been resolved. Geithner says the U.S. risks defaulting on its obligations if Congress fails to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2. Moody’s Investors Service said June 2 that it will put the U.S. government’s AAA credit rating under review for a possible downgrade if no progress has been made in debt discussions by mid-July, while Fitch Ratings said last week that it would give the U.S. a negative rating if there have been no advances by August 2.

With Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee set to leave his position in August to return to his professorship at the University of Chicago, Geithner would be the only remaining member of President Obama’s original economic team. With Geithner’s exit, Obama would have to make two new appointments that could make or break his re-election campaign as he’s put under severe scrutiny for how he’s been handling the economic recovery.

Geithner has told associates his leaving would be for personal reasons, one of which is the need to remove himself from the stress of his position. Before becoming Treasury secretary, Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.