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Geithner: GOP budget a 'recipe' for US decline

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offered harsh words for GOP cut-heavy budgets Wednesday, calling them "a recipe to make us a declining power."

One day after President Obama laid into the Republican proposal offered by Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Healthcare: Burwell huddles with Dems on fighting ObamaCare repeal Reid: Bring back the earmarks Ryan: GOP won’t ‘pull the rug out’ from 'Dreamers' MORE (R-Wis.), his top economic adviser followed suit, arguing that the GOP path will not grow the economy.

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"It is a dark and pessimistic vision of America," he told the Economic Club of Chicago, according to his prepared remarks.

"We have to be willing to do things, not just cut things," he added.

In particular, Geithner called on Congress to support the Export-Import Bank, as the fight to renew it is shaping up to be a major Capitol Hill battle in the coming weeks. He added that lawmakers need to agree on a long-term transportation bill, rather than "limp forward" with temporary extensions of infrastructure programs.

But lawmakers need to acknowledge that any "credible" plan for the economy requires reform of key areas, like the financial system.

"Repealing Wall Street reform will not make the economy grow faster — it would just make us more vulnerable to another crisis," he said.

While he acknowledged that the nation's debt path is "unsustainable," he maintained that the only right path is a balanced approach, combining targeted cuts and "modest" revenue increases.

"There is no economic or financial case for using the fear of future deficits to cut as deeply into core functions of the government, to weaken the safety net or fundamentally alter Medicare benefits as do the Republican proposals," he said.

But in the end, Geithner maintained that the nation's problems are manageable, adding that he "would prefer our challenges to those of any economy anywhere in the world."