Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

GEITHNER: I think what the country needs to do is understand we're going to have to do what it takes, we're going to do what's necessary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about health care. The negotiations seem to stall out in the Senate, they are going to try to come back by Sept 15th. The House committees have all passed the bill. One of the things that, Senator Grassley, we just saw, is asking about is that he says he wants some assurance, some guarantees really, that whatever deal, if they strike a deal, a bipartisan deal in the Senate finance committee it's going to hold all the way through the process. The Senate floor, the House floor, the conference committee, can the administration give him that assurance?

GEITHNER: I think that is what every legislator wants. They want that to be of confidence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They are not going to get it through?

GEITHNER: You know, (chuckles), we want to have an outcome that meets these core principles the President laid out. Which is we want to make sure that we're doing something that is going to reduce the growth in cost over the long term, expand access, improve the quality of care. Do that in a fiscally responsible way that does not increase, increase unduly the burden on average Americans today. That's the basic test. And we're going to try to make sure that we achieve that with the broadest consensus as possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want broad consensus but senator Grassley, his colleague senator Enzi are saying that they need those assurances, that can't get them?

GEITHNER: Well again, you know (laughs) we want to make sure we get this done. And we're gonna- as the President's said, we're going to look at anything reasonable, consistent with those principles that's going to get this done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want it to be through consensus, the President has said he wants a bipartisan bill if possible, but do you believe it is possible if necessary to get meaningful health care reform with democrats only?

GEITHNER: George, I think that again this is a big consequential reform of the country. And as many people observes, ideally you want to do this with as broad a base of consensus as possible. But people on the hill are going to have to make that choice, do they want to help shape this and be part of it. Or do they want this country, the United States of America, to go another several decades without doing whatever other serious country has done, which is to give their citizens access to basic quality of care.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if Republicans can't come to an agreement with the democrats are the democrats and the White House willing to go it to alone?

GEITHNER: George, again, we're going to try and get this done on the best possible terms consistent with those principles. Can't tell you what it's going to take. But you see what the President is trying to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about the TARP. Um the Tarp inspector general Neil Barovsky has criticized your department for not being transparent and he's also said that the tax payers could be on the hook for up to $23 trillion dollars in liabilities. I know you dispute that figure but what can you tell us about where the TARP stands right now. And how much of the $700 billion that has been appropriated taxpayers can expect to get back?

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