With the fiscal cliff looming--and Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner, slamming the White House's latest proposal--U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit, saying the partisan posturing is a necessary part of "political theater" but that he's hopeful a deal will get done before the end of the year.
"I actually think that we're gonna get there," Geithner said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "I mean, inevitably [there is] gonna be a little political theater in this context--sometimes that's a sign of progress. I think we're actually making a little bit of progress, but we're still some distance apart."
Geithner said the GOP lawmakers need to realize that the burden is now on them to work with Democrats--and that the ball is in their court.
"There's just no reason why 98 percent of Americans have to see their taxes go up because some members of Congress on the Republican side want to block tax rate increases for 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans," the treasury secretary said.
"They really are in a difficult position," he added. "And they're going to have to figure out their politics of what they do next."
"I think we're far apart still, but I think we're moving closer together," Geithner said. "Republicans have said for the first time in decades, if I'm not mistaken, that they are prepared to raise taxes as part of a deal that helps reduce our long-term deficits. Now, what they haven't said to us is how far they're willing to go both on rates and revenues. And that's something we're going to need to see from them if we're going to have an agreement."
He added: "There's going to be a lot of political theater between now and when we get there."
On "Meet The Press," Geithner said he thinks a deal will get done by the end of the year.
"The only thing standing in the way of that would be a refusal by Republicans to accept that rates are going to have to go up on the wealthiest Americans," he said. "And I don't really see them doing that."
Geithner's Sunday talk show tour was met with immediate criticism from the GOP.
"The president and the White House have had three weeks and this is the best we've got?" Boehner asked on "Fox News Sunday." "We are nowhere."