Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. "absolutely" should get rid of the debt ceiling as soon as possible.
"It would have been time a long time ago to eliminate it," Geithner told Bloomberg TV on Friday. "The sooner the better."
Geithner did not commit to personally doing anything to eliminate the nation's legal limit on borrowing. When pressed on the issue, Geithner told Bloomberg TV: "This is only something only Congress can solve. Congress put it on itself."
"Only once, last summer, did people decide to use it to threaten default on the American credit for the first time in history as a tool for political advantage," he continued. "And that's not a tenable strategy for the country."
Geithner said he doesn't plan to keep his job much longer. He told Bloomberg TV that he's agreed to stay as treasury secretary "until mid-January."
The U.S. will hit the debt ceiling some time in mid-February or early March if Congress does not raise it. And, just like last year, some congressional Republicans, including House House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), have said they plan to use the debt ceiling deadline as leverage to force spending cuts. Meanwhile, the "fiscal cliff," or $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax hikes, is scheduled to take place on Jan. 1 if Congress does not reach a deficit reduction deal before then.
Not raising the debt ceiling would have a destructive effect on the economy. It would force steep government spending cuts and likely cause a financial crisis and recession. The government would be at immediate risk of defaulting on its debt.
Congress and the Obama administration reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling at the last minute last year. By threatening not to raise the debt ceiling, congressional Republicans extracted $2 billion in spending cuts over 10 years from the administration. The economy shed jobs during the months of infighting, according to Labor Department data, as businesses waited on edge for a resolution.
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