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Obama urges Geithner to stay as US Treasury chief

President Barack Obama has asked Timothy Geithner to stay on as US Treasury secretary and a decision is expected soon, officials said on Thursday.

business Updated: Aug 06, 2011 00:09 IST

President Barack Obama has asked Timothy Geithner to stay on as US Treasury secretary and a decision is expected soon, officials said on Thursday.

Geithner had indicated he might leave once an increase in the US debt limit was secured, a milestone reached this week after a long and rancorous debate that took the US to the verge of a possible default.

Advisers said Geithner has not yet decided whether to depart but would likely come to a decision soon. Geithner has headed Treasury since January 2009, working at a hectic pace. He has been involved in all the major economic decisions by the Obama administration.

Both Obama and White House Chief of Staff William Daley have encouraged Geithner to stay, according to a senior administration official.

But there is a weighty agenda for the administration to deal with on the economic front, from how to manage budget savings promised as part of the debt-hike deal to potential tax reform — against the backdrop of a wavering, feeble recovery.

Geithner said he had not yet made a decision on whether to leave. Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney said Geithner has offered the same message to the White House.

When Geithner took office, the economy was in perilous shape and the financial crisis in full swing. As the head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank before joining the administration, Geithner was already deeply involved in battling the downturn. He is now the last member of Obama's original economic team.

Though the economy is in a recovery, growth is anemic, financial markets are queasy and acrimony between the administration and opposition Republicans on remedies has intensified.