U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said some lawmakers and bankers are waging a “war of attrition” against efforts to strengthen regulation of the financial system.
“You’re seeing some people run a war of attrition against the reform act,” Geithner said at an event today in Washington, without identifying the people. “They’re trying to starve the agencies of funding so they can’t enforce protections for investors.”
Geithner also said opponents of the Obama administration are trying to block presidential appointments to regulatory agencies “as a way to get leverage over the outcome, and they’re trying to slow down so that they can weaken over time the thrust” of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. “We’re not going to let that happen.”
Republican lawmakers are opposing the nomination of Peter Diamond to the Federal Reserve Board. The White House renominated Diamond, a Nobel Prize winner, in January, marking a third try at confirmation after the Senate adjourned in December without approving him. Diamond’s initial candidacy was returned to the White House in August under a procedural objection.
“We want to put up people who can be confirmed,” Geithner said. “We want to put up talented people who can do those jobs. Finding the intersection between those two things has become difficult because people are less willing to come and Congress is proving itself unwilling to confirm Nobel Prize-winning economists.”
Asked by a moderator at the breakfast held by Politico to identify the “mysterious forces” working against the administration, Geithner said, smiling, “dark forces, I would say.”
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