US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to step down from his post by the end of January, even if the country’s debt ceiling crisis remains unresolved, his aides say.
"Secretary Geithner has previously stated that he plans to be at Treasury until around the inauguration," AFP quoted a Treasury spokesperson as saying on Thursday.
"We do not plan to make any further announcements about the timing of the secretary's departure until after his successor is named," he added
Reports say that Geithner has already notified the White House that he would give up his cabinet position by the month’s end, even if President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans do not reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
Geithner, 51, has been Obama's chief negotiator with Congress on the fiscal cliff and was involved in almost all the recent negotiations leading up to this week's deal to avert the cliff.
He is also the only remaining member of Obama’s original economic team and was a key player in the taxpayer-funded bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis.
No formal announcement has been made by the White House or the Treasury Department on Geithner’s replacement, but Jack Lew, the current White House Chief of Staff and a veteran Washington insider, remains the leading contender for the Treasury job.
On Wednesday, Obama signed into law the ‘American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012’ to avert the fiscal cliff.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted 257 to 167 to pass the bill, which extend tax cuts for middle class US citizens and raise tax rates on top earners. It will also put off USD109 billion in spending cuts for two months.