On today's Meet the Press, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the debt ceiling must be raised. "Congress is going to have to raise the debt limit," he told host David Gregory. "They understand that. That's absolutely essential to preserve the creditworthiness of the United States of America. We're a country that meets its obligations and we have to meet our obligations, and they recognize that." If the debt ceiling is not raised, the government would likely default on its loans, potentially setting off another financial crisis. Regardless, the U.S.'s reputation would suffer great damage. "Markets around the world are watching Washington to see whether this political leadershipRepublicans and Democrats, understand that we need to get on with it and start to bring down the long-term deficits," he said.

Geithner has warned that the $14.3 billion debt limit will be reached by May 16. Extraordinary measures could push back a decision about raising it until July. Republicans are using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in negotiating for further spending cuts. In 2006, when he was still a senator, President Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. Geithner said that the President now realizes that that was a mistake. "You heard him say this week that was a mistake," Geitner said. "He recognizes that's a mistake and he recognizes that's not something he can play politics with."

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