US debt default 'not going to happen': Geithner

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2011 (AFP) - The United States will not default on its debt, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said 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 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 Sunday. "We're trying to avoid default today, and the specter of default in the future."

He 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.

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