Geithner vs. the Republicans

As Washington struggles with Afghanistan and Pakistan, the administration is working on its relationship with India. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Chennai that set out Washington’s hopes for the future of the relationship, namely, that India step up and take a leadership role in its region. “This is a time to seize the opportunities of the 21st century and it is a time to lead,” Clinton commented, stressing the need to expand cooperation and calling on New Delhi to play a “constructive role” in Afghanistan. On the situation in Afghanistan, the secretary of state noted, “Reconciliation -- achieving it and maintaining it -- will depend on the participation and support of Afghanistan's neighbors, including both Pakistan and India.”

Clinton will be in Indonesia tomorrow to meet with officials at the ASEAN Regional Forum. Human Rights Watch is calling on the secretary of state to touch on human-rights abuses when she’s in Bali. The group said those in the Indonesian military accused of widespread abuse have gone unpunished.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took on Republicans today in the Wall Street Journal. It’s been a year since the Dodd-Frank Act, the consumer protection and financial reform bill, was passed, and Republican lawmakers have been pushing for changes in the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Born from the Dodd-Frank Act, the agency is supposed to open its doors on Thursday. But Republicans have threatened to refuse to confirm the agency’s director unless, in the words of Senator Mitch McConnell, “this massive new government bureaucracy [is made] more accountable and transparent to the American people.” Geithner accused the Republicans of “still working to thwart change,” and warned that he would “recommend that the president veto any legislation passed by Congress that would undermine these vital financial protections.” He also talked up many of the financial-recovery successes of the administration, arguing that “the US financial system is in much stronger shape, not just relative to the depth of the crisis, but also relative to conditions that prevailed before it hit.”

And White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday that the tide is turning in Libya: “Every metric is showing that the situation is moving against Colonel Qaddafi.” Carney said Qaddafi is “cut off from fuel and cash” and that his control over territory is dwindling.