WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Republicans that they risk helping to tip the country into recession if they fail to back President Barack Obama's jobs bill late on Tuesday.
Speaking just before the Senate was expected to vote down the US$447 billion (S$574 billion) plan, Mr Geithner launched an uncharacteristically partisan attack on Mr Obama's political foes.
Asked during an interview with Bloomberg Television whether Republicans were raising the risk of another recession by standing in the way of the bill, Mr Geithner responded: 'Absolutely.' 'If Congress does not act, it will be because Republicans decided they did not want to do anything to help the economy,' he said.
'Growth will be weaker... people will be out of work. If the bill is not passed, he added, 'We will put off the important challenges.' 'That is not something we should do.' Mr Obama has spent weeks demanding that Congress pass a full version of a bill designed to boost growth, cut the unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent and shield the fragile US recovery from the threat of European debt contagion.