Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Defends Planned Reuse of TARP Funds

Obey also told Geithner that he would not support the administration's request for $108 billion in funding for the International Monetary Fund, complaining that European countries like Germany had not implemented large enough stimulus packages to warrant using more American funds to end the global recession.

"We don't want Uncle Sam to be Uncle Sucker," said the chair of the full House Appropriations Committee.

With the U.S. currency currently struggling near its lowest level of the year, Geithner noted that maintaining a strong dollar was one of his top priorities.

"As the secretary of the Treasury, I want you to know that my basic obligation is to make sure that we put in place policies that sustain confidence in this economy, in our currency, that we sustain a strong dollar, we retain what is a great strength and asset for this country, which is the most deep and most liquid markets for Treasury securities in the world," he told lawmakers.

Weight the Costs of a Watchdog Agency

One possible future measure that the administration is now mulling over is the creation of an independent watchdog agency to protect consumers, Geithner acknowledged.

"We are examining the merits of setting up a new independent commission or agency to help provide stronger rules to protect consumers and better enforcement of those rules," he told lawmakers. "We are not at the point yet, though, where we've made a judgment on what precise structure or form this should take, how broad its authority should be, how it relates to the existing authorities that exist across agencies now, but we look forward to the chance to laying out our proposals for you when we're ready."

In the "next couple weeks," Geithner said, the administration will also unveil its selection of the fund managers for its program to rid banks of their bad assets. The department was originally set to announce its picks earlier this month, but postponed the announcement until June.

Also at Thursday's hearing, Geithner told Congress that most of the 5 percent increase in Treasury's budget request for fiscal year 2010 will be used to ratchet up tax collection efforts.

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