'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner


DONVAN: Because, to him, that tea sounds like Kool-Aid, and that he's not drinking.

I'm John Donvan for "This Week" in Washington.


AMANPOUR: And joining me now to discuss lessons learned and the road ahead, four Tea Party stars from the House freshman class. All of them new to elected office. With us from Florida, Congressman Allen West. From North Carolina, Renee Ellmers. And here in the Newseum with us, Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, and Steve Southerland, also of Florida.

Thank you all for joining us. Thank you, and welcome back to the program.

Steve Southerland, let me ask you first. You all came to Washington to tame that deficit, to cut spending. Now this latest battle is going to be about raising America's debt ceiling. Are you going to vote for that? You heard what Secretary Geithner told me, that it would be catastrophic if that didn't happen?

SOUTHERLAND: Sure. Well, let me say this. You know, they are pushing for a single subject vote, a clean debt ceiling vote, and I'm not for that.

Look, we've got to have some guarantees going forward, caps and some guarantees that if we raise that debt ceiling, that we get this economy on a trajectory to where we service our debt, like any banker. A banker wants to know--

AMANPOUR: So you can see raising -- you could see voting for it if something was given to sweeten it?

SOUTHERLAND: Well, it's going to have to be a lot more than just sweetening it. I mean, it's going to have to be concrete. And I've yet to see that from the administration. They talk about the necessity of raising the debt ceiling, yet they've proposed nothing regarding guarantees that we can satisfy our debt long-term.

AMANPOUR: They have talked about trying to reach some kind of targets and some kind of compromise around what both sides are talking about now, which is cutting spending.

AMANPOUR: Congressman Walsh, do you believe when Tim Geithner says, and also the chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, that not raising it could be a recovery-ending mistake?

WALSH: I wish -- Christiane, I wish they got as excited and animated about all of this debt we're placing at the feet and on the backs of kids and our grandkids. That's what sent us here. Look, look, business as usual in this town is no longer going to exist. We were sent here -- the American people sent us here, because in a large way they recoiled against a lot of this spending the president was putting upon us.

If you're going to ask this Congress to support a raise in the debt ceiling, there has got to be something structural on this spending site. Because we've got to cut up this credit card.

A couple examples. I sponsored two weeks ago a balanced budget amendment in the House. Something very structural that would make this town do what households do, what a number of states do. It's going to have to be tied to something pretty major like that.

AMANPOUR: So I asked you about the stakes that Tim Geithner raised. Congressman West, do you believe it when the secretary of the treasury, the chairman of the Fed, say that the stakes are this high?

WEST: Well, one of the things, having served 22 years in the United States military, I don't believe in leadership by fear and intimidation. I think that leaders have to come up with viable solutions, I agree with one of the things that Joe Walsh just brought up, we need to have a balanced budget amendment.

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