By Alicia M. Cohn - 09/14/11 04:30 PM EDT
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on
Wednesday joked about getting fired, a clear brush-off of lawmakers gunning for his dismissal.
When CNBC's Jim Cramer asked Geithner if he is ever "afraid" of getting fired, the secretary replied: "I've been hoping, uh, for sometime."
Geithner has been a lightning rod for controversy over the state of the U.S. economy in recent months, and played a high-profile role during the debt-ceiling debate over the summer. Geithner set the deadline to raise the debt ceiling at Aug. 2, a deadline that many Republicans in Congress challenged as "arbitrary."
Geithner indicated his interested in stepping down from the position once negotiations were concluded to raise the debt ceiling. However, Geithner said last week that President Obama has asked him to stay on in his position, and "how can you not when the president asks?"
Geithner seemed more positive about his job later in the interview.
"I've spent my life in public service, mostly on the financial side," he
said. "I have never been in a position where I had to say something I
didn't believe and was not given a chance to say something I thought was
right. ... I think the test of holding public office is a willingness
to be open about the challenges, and to be fair and direct and honest
about the things you have to do. I'm not perfect but I've always tried
to do that."
Geithner's job security has been no joking matter for Republicans.
Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — including Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee; presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich (Ga.); and Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) — called for Geithner's dismissal following the U.S. credit downgrade from AAA to AA+ by rating agency Standard & Poor's in August. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a vote of "no confidence" in Geithner to the Senate last week.
For more on Geithner on The Hill's On the Money Blog, click here.