STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're not ruling it out. You can't rule it out.
GEITHNER: Well, I think that 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 seemed to stall out in the Senate. They're going to try to come back by September 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 assurances, some guarantees, really, that whatever deal, if they strike a deal -- 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's what every legislator wants. They want that to degree of confidence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They're not going to get it, though?
GEITHNER: You know, we want to have an outcome that meets these core principles that the president laid out, which is we want to make sure that we're doing something that's going to reduce the growth in costs over the long term, expand access, improve the quality of care, do that in a fiscally responsible way that does not 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 a broad consensus, but Senator Grassley, his colleague Senator Enzi are saying they need those assurances. They can't get them?
GEITHNER: Well, you can't, you know -- we want to make sure we get this done, and we're going to -- as the president said, we're going to look at anything reasonable consistent with those principles that's going to get this done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not do it (ph) through consensus? The president 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 for the country. And as many people observed, 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 what every other serious country has done, which is to give their citizens access to basic quality care.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if the Republicans can't come to an agreement with the Democrats, are the Democrats and the White House willing to go it alone?
GEITHNER: George, again, we're going to try to 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. The TARP inspector general, Neil Barofsky, has criticized your department for not being transparent. He's also said that the taxpayers can be on the hook for up to $23 trillion 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?