Washington: The United States will not default on its debt, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday, as the clock ticks down to reaching a deal by August 2 to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
"It's unthinkable we would not meet our obligations on time," Geithner told CNN in an interview. "It's not going to happen."
Congress must also come up with a plan which lifts the threat of a US default of its huge USD 14.3 trillion debt for at least 18 months, beyond the November 2012 elections, Geithner said.
"We have to take that threat off the table. But we also have to make sure that we come together to make some long term savings," he told Fox News today.
"We're trying to avoid default today, and the spectre of default in the future."
President Barack Obama and and top lawmakers were again searching for an elusive deal today to avert an unprecedented US default which could happen as early as August 2 when the government runs out of funds to pay its bills.
Geithner said Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "had been absolutely clear, they are not going to let this country default.
"They are not going to put us in the position where the members of their party who have been threatening default, or even praying for default...They are not going to let that happen."
The treasury chief said under one plan, a committee with special powers would be set up in the coming months to put together a framework of tough reforms to the US economy.
The United States has "to demonstrate to the world that we can get our fiscal house in order," Geithner added.
Behind closed doors at the White House and in Congress, polarised US leaders are struggling to come together despite fears the stalemate could send global markets tumbling, starting with early Monday trade in Asia.
First Published: Sunday, July 24, 2011, 23:02