Cantwell 'not sure' why Geithner has job

Sen. Maria Cantwell said that she's "not sure" why Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner still has a job as of Monday morning.

Cantwell (D-Wash.) ripped into the financial reforms put forth by Geithner and the Obama administration as "appalling" for including alleged loopholes and exemptions for large financial institutions in legislation overhauling the regulatory framework for the nation's top firms.

"I'm not sure," Cantwell said during an appearance on MSNBC Monday morning when asked by host Dylan Ratigan why Geithner still has a job.

Speaking about Geithner's appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cantwell slammed the secretary's defense of the financial overhaul as falling short of needed reforms.

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"What the Treasury secretary basically said was that, yes, banks should take more risks and we should continue the loopholes," she said. "And that's really appalling because right now, we know that lack of transparency has caused this problem with the U.S. economy, and Wall Street is continuing, one year later, with the same loopholes."

The Democratic Cantwell's questioning of Geithner, who works for a Democratic administration, came at the prodding of Ratigan, who in a blog for the Huffington Post on Monday agitated for the secretary's firing.

Cantwell's friendly fire marks an uptick in rhetoric against Geithner from liberal Democrats, who earlier this year had questioned the former New York Fed chairman's closeness to Wall Street and are now ramping up their questions for the Treasury secretary as Congress prepares to take up the Obama administration's financial overhaul plans in earnest.

"If the Treasury secretary doesn't come down hard against these loopholes and advocate for closing them, we're going to have a hard time closing them in Congress," Cantwell said. "So the Treasury secretary is dodging the issue."

Update, 2:40 p.m.: A spokeswoman for Cantwell says the senator is not willing to go so far as to call for Geithner to step down at this point.

She accused Geithner of being an "enabler" of the financial crisis in the past, and said the Treasury secretary was building a "house of cards" in the future.