Robert Schmidt
March 3, 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. bank rescue program may cost more than the $700 billion Congress approved, and he pledged to crack down on companies and individuals who try to avoid paying taxes.

[efoods]Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee on the Obama administration’s 2010 budget, Geithner pledged to work with Congress to “determine the appropriate size and shape” of further bailouts.

“As expensive as it already has been, our effort to stabilize the financial system might cost more,” Geithner said. He also urged lawmakers to “commit” to cutting the $1.3 trillion budget shortfall this year and reiterated the administration’s pledge to cut the deficit to $533 billion, or 3 percent of gross domestic product, by 2013.

The Treasury chief told lawmakers that the administration will unveil a series of “legislative and enforcement measures” in coming months to deal with companies and wealthy individuals who use offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. The agency also plans to propose rules that would curb companies’ ability to delay paying U.S. tax on their foreign earnings, Geithner said.

Today’s hearing marked Geithner’s first appearance before the panel that writes U.S. tax law. His nomination faced resistance earlier this year in the Senate after Geithner, who oversees the Internal Revenue Service, agreed to repay almost $50,000 in back taxes and penalties.

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