Tim Geithner was sworn in as Treasury Secretary this afternoon. According to CNBC:
“We are at a moment of maximum challenge for our economy and our country,” Geithner said at a swearing-in ceremony as he stood by the President Barack Obama’s side. “Our agenda is to move quickly to help you do what the country asked you to do,” he told the president.
In coming weeks, Geithner is expected to unveil reforms to the United States’ $700 billion financial bailout program to provide more support for housing and credit markets, and possibly a new effort to absorb troubled assets from banks.
Geithner will be President Obama’s top economic official for a crisis-management team that is already deeply involved in pushing a big package of spending and tax-cuts through Congress to lift the recession-mired economy.
He also will immediately face the question of whether the new administration should go back to Congress to seek money beyond the Treasury-run $700 billion financial rescue package to sop up bad assets sitting on bank balance sheets, perhaps in a government-run “bad bank.”
At a congressional hearing on his nomination last week, Geithner pledged an overhaul of the government’s crisis response that would aim to ease the housing crisis, aid consumer credit markets and shore up the banking system.
He also vowed a greater effort to track what banks are doing with the taxpayer-supplied funds that are being bundled out by Treasury. Many lawmakers have complained that banks have not used the funds to increase their lending.