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Geithner Defends Obama Budget Before Congress

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the Obama administration's spending plans before Congress Thursday.

Geithner faced critical questions from Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee. They said proposals for the budget year beginning in October will increase the nation's spending, debt and taxes and show "no fiscal discipline."

The treasury secretary defended the 2010 budget, saying it will put the nation on a path to fiscal responsibility once economic recovery is established.

He said the government must do as much as it can to get Americans back to work, stimulate private investment and get credit flowing again.

Geithner's testimony comes before he heads to a meeting Friday of finance ministers from the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations. The meeting will lay the groundwork for a summit of government leaders in London on April 2.

The budget President Barack Obama proposed for 2010 drastically increases the deficit to about $1.8 trillion, in part because it funds programs intended to boost employment and make credit more available.

The proposal includes investments in energy, education and health care - areas Mr. Obama says are critical to the nation's economic future.

Thursday's debate focused on spending plans for 2010. On Wednesday, the president signed a bill to fund the government this year through September 30.

He described the $410 billion measure for 2009 as "imperfect" and said it is the final part of the current year's budget and must mark an end to the "old ways" of doing business.

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg.