'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

GEITHNER: It would be very damaging to average Americans. There's no doubt about it. But there's no reason why it has to happen. And again, we're going to work very hard to prevent it. And the only reason that would happen, again, is if a small group of members of Congress decide they're going to block an agreement because they're not prepared to see tax rates rise modestly for just 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, I hear you say you're going to work very hard, but boy, you listen to every Republican coming out of the meetings with you this week, they say you're going backwards, not forwards. So what is the specific next step to get this back on track? Is the president ready to meet face to face with the speaker, face to face with the Republican leader in the Senate to try to nail this down?

GEITHNER: Of course he is. And we'll do that when it makes sense. At this point, though, you've got to recognize that they're in a very difficult place. And they recognize they're going to have to move in a bunch of things, but they don't know really how to do it yet and how to get support for the members on the Republican side. And so, what we're going to do is to continue to look for ways we can solve this problem. But ultimately, they have to come to us and tell us what they think they need. What we can't do is to keep guessing about what --


STEPHANOPOULOS: So the ball is in their court?

GEITHNER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And they understand that. And when they come back to us and say, we would like you to consider this, and we'd like you to consider that, we'll take a look at that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, one final question. This is your last assignment for the president, wrapping up these negotiations. So, how much longer you think you're going to be staying? And also, it was interesting to see this week that Warren Buffett thinks your best replacement would be Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan.


WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I think Jamie Dimon actually would be -- I think he would be terrific, because I think he -- I think he -- if we did run into problems in markets, I think he would actually be the best person you could have in the job.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Any chance of that?

GEITHNER: George, the president is going to choose somebody very talented to lead the Treasury for his next four years. And I'm very fortunate, I have been able to work with him to help solve these problems for the country over this period of time, and I'm very confident he's going to have somebody in place in January to succeed me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I didn't think you were going to bite on that. But thanks for your time this morning. Mr. Secretary, thanks very much.

GEITHNER: Thanks, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Our powerhouse roundtable is coming right up. We'll get their take on Tim Geithner, the tax debate that's dividing the GOP, and the president's campaign tactics. Are they forcing a deal or poisoning the well? All that in just 90 seconds.


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