Pressure rises for debt compromise

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned yesterday that failure to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 could mean “catastrophic damage” to the economy, and an agreement must be reached.

The Treasury has said the debt ceiling must be raised by Aug. 2 and credit-rating agencies have threatened to downgrade U.S. debt if there is a risk of default.

Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how to go about reducing the budget deficit, which lawmakers have tied to any agreement on raising the $14.3 trillion cap on U.S. borrowing authority.

“We have no option except to come together. And the question is, again, not whether we’re going to have an agreement. We’re going to have an agreement. The question is: Are we going to have an agreement that’s going to be good for the economy?” Geithner said.

“This week, and certainly by the end of next week, we have to have agreement on the outlines of a package,” he said.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were to meet with other congressional leaders at the White House late yesterday. The meeting comes one day after Boehner said he would only pursue a deficit-reduction package about half the size of the far-reaching $4 trillion deal favored by Obama.



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