At several of his recent town hall meetings, Rep. Tom Perriello has restated his belief that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner needs to be replaced. Video of the comments, which was filmed several days prior to House Minority Leader John Boehner's criticism of Sec. Geithner, has been circulating online. In response to inquiries regarding his position on Sec. Geithner, Rep. Perriello released the following statement today:
"Though he has changed the rhetoric, Treasury Secretary Geithner has too often championed President Bush's economic priorities of bailing out Wall Street, ignoring construction and manufacturing, and going easy on Chinese currency manipulation and dumping practices. This approach, which has gained consensus among elites in both parties, is based on the flawed logic that subsidizing speculators to the hilt will eventually spread a few dollars to everyone else. The financial sector is vital to the economy, but Geithner and the Republicans need to wake up to the fact that Americans are hurting for jobs on Main Street. Like many Perot-style Democrats in Congress, I have been fighting to rebuild America's competitive advantage, support small business and community banks, and crack down on China. The change many of us fought for in 2008 runs a lot deeper than changing the name plate on the door from Paulson to Geithner. I hope that President Obama will find the Arne Duncan of economic development, a visionary with 'on the ground' experience creating jobs. We need someone who understands the need to start building, making and growing things in America again.
"For these same reasons, I was surprised when Minority Leader John Boehner called for Sec. Geithner's resignation, since he has voted for and supported the Secretary's policies, including the TARP bailout of Wall Street, preventing any accountability for unconscionable bonuses, and echoing the giant sucking sound of American jobs going overseas through bad trade deals that sell out the American worker. In fact, the only major way in which Mr. Boehner has broken with Sec. Geithner is the on the Recovery Act, which economists credit with creating nearly 3 million jobs. In my brief time in Washington, I have seen John Boehner stand in the way of every major proposal that could have proud Americans working today, particularly during this vital summer building season.
"In the first two years of this Administration, bold action by Congress kept our economy from falling off a cliff, but that is not nearly bold enough for the times we face. We have made a down payment on America's competitiveness through investments in science and innovation, by making college more affordable, and by getting America back into the game on the jobs of the future, including new energy, high-tech, and advanced manufacturing. But we cannot rest and we should not be satisfied until Americans are back to work building, making and growing things here again. For this, we must do better than the Geithners and Boehners who have given up on America's workers. America can and will outcompete the world, but that leadership will not come from those who think we just need to get back to 2006, when the middle class was already struggling and almost all growth was in the speculation sector. President Obama spent years in a part of Chicago whose steel industry was devastated by trade deals and policies that put multi-national corporate CEOs ahead of middle-class and working-class Americans. We've seen innovative thinking out of many members of the President's cabinet, notably on energy, agriculture and education, and we need that boldness in the area that is everyone's top priority right now -- the economy."