Geithner to defend economic measures at hearings

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will take to Capitol Hill this week to defend the Obama administration's latest proposals on executive compensation and financial regulation.

In a twin set of appearances before House and Senate committees, Geithner is expected to lay out administration proposals while taking questions from lawmakers, some of whom have shown anxiousness over the administration's involvement in the economy.

The administration will lay out its proposed makeover of the financial regulatory system, Geithner said during a meeting of G8 financial ministers in Italy this past weekend, and meeting the lawmakers will be the administration's first major test of those proposals.

The Treasury secretary will appear before the Senate Banking Committee in the morning on Thursday, and before the House Financial Services Committee that afternoon.

Geithner said this weekend that the administration's proposals will include tougher oversight of financial institutions and markets that span globally, and higher standards for capital requirements.

More broadly, Geithner will have to sell Congress on President Obama's involvement in automakers Chrysler and General Motors, as well as the proposed curbs on executive compensation packages.

He'll find an early, if partial, critic in House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) when it comes to executive compensation. While Frank endorsed the so-called "say on pay" element of the administration's compensation reform plans, he ridiculed a key part of the plan: enabling the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to act more forcefully to ensure compensation committees' independence at banks and other companies.

The appearances on Capitol Hill appear to be part of a broader effort by the Treasury to help push the line forward on the administration's financial policies. Among other plans this week, Geithner will participate in a question-and-answer forum with Time magazine in New York on Tuesday morning, which will focus principally on "the Obama administration’s efforts to repair and strengthen our financial system and close the critical gaps that contributed to the financial crisis."