CHICAGO – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday he'll stay in his job for the "foreseeable future," addressing speculation he might leave the Obama administration following the current round of budget negotiations.
"I live for this work. It's the only thing I've ever done. I believe in it," Geithner said when questioned about his plans by former President Bill Clinton onstage at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
"We have a lot of challenges in the country and I'm going to be doing it for the foreseeable future," he said.
Geithner, 49, acknowledged the interest in his plans, noting that he'd been commuting back and forth from New York and had a son who was going to be finishing high school there. Earlier a person familiar with his thinking told The Associated Press that Geithner saw an opening to potentially leave once a deal was reached on raising the nation's borrowing limit, but the source emphasized no decisions had been made. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
Geithner reiterated his warnings Thursday of financial chaos if the federal government's debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2. Along with other administration officials, Geithner is deep in negotiations to make it happen alongside spending cuts demanded by congressional Republicans.
Geithner has been at President Barack Obama's side since the beginning of his administration. If he did depart he would be the latest in a series of economic advisers to do so more than halfway through Obama's term, as often happens around the two-year mark of a presidency. Earlier this month the White House announced the departure of Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
Prior to joining Obama's administration, Geithner served for about five years as chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a job that put him on the front lines of the central bank's efforts to battle the financial crisis and to get credit flowing more freely. He has a close working relationship with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Geithner also worked at the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, dealing with international financial crises.
His possible departure was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Kuhnhenn reported from Philadelphia.