Dems Support Geithner — for Now

By Lindsey Ellerson

Mar 18, 2009 3:53pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein and David Wright report: With anger erupting on Capitol Hill over bonuses to AIG executives, frustration is clearly growing over Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s leadership — from Democrats as well as Republicans.

On ABC News NOW’s "Politics Live" today, two Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee said they continue to support Geithner but made it clear that there were limits to their patience.

Asked whether he supports Geithner’s staying in place, Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., said:

"At the moment, yeah. I mean, I have questions like anybody else, but let’s be serious. He’s still new on the job. He hasn’t been able to get anybody else appointed or actually confirmed by the Senate. So, I think it’s a little too early to pass that judgment.  I actually think it would become a distraction to worry about that right now. The guy is well-qualified. Let’s give him a chance to work or not work out.”

Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., offered similarly lukewarm support for the secretary.

"President Obama has expressed his faith in Secretary Geithner,” Hodes said. “I think Secretary Geithner is doing generally a good job, and I’m hoping that he’s learning quickly how difficult the job he faces is."

Hodes made clear that most of his frustration is with AIG’s chief executive Edward Liddy.

"It really shows arrogance, incompetence and greed on the part of AIG," he said. "Mr. Liddy is really being seen as someone from the Bernie Madoff school of management. It is unconscionable and unacceptable that while the taxpayers have invested $180 billion in AIG, they should at this time pay executives, including many who have left the company, millions and millions of dollars in bonuses."

Capuano acknowledged that the manner in which a provision that would have stopped such bonuses was blocked doesn’t look good.

“Welcome to the legislative process,” he said. “Sometimes these things are almost impossible to unwind, but it’s a fair question, and I think these questions will continue.”

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