Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul announced early Wednesday morning that he plans to push the Senate to hold a vote of no confidence in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Unlike in the United Kingdom’s Parliament, where a no confidence vote would remove him, a U.S. Senate vote of no confidence would be a symbolic measure that sends a signal to the president.
“The stock market gave a vote of no confidence to Timothy Geithner yesterday and for the past 11 days,” Paul said in a statement. “Geithner has shown no acumen in predicting, diagnosing, or treating America’s economic woes. The time has come for him to resign.”
Earlier this summer it was widely speculated that Geithner would resign after the debt ceiling deal was complete. But as The Daily Caller reported this week, Geithner and the Treasury Department said he won’t be leaving. “Secretary Geithner has let the President know that he plans to stay on in his position at Treasury,” Jenni Lecompte, the assistant secretary for public affairs at Treasury, said in a statement. “He looks forward to the important work ahead on the challenges facing our great country.”
Paul first announced his plan to call for a no confidence vote against Geithner in a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News Channel’s Hannity. “I’m going to introduce legislation tomorrow that will call for the resignation of Timothy Geithner,” Paul said on the show. “It will be a no vote of no confidence. And I think really, his only chance to turn his presidency around is to get somebody to replace Timothy Geithner who’s failed at every term.”
Several Democratic senators initiated a major push for a no confidence vote against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in 2007 during the Bush administration. The vote didn’t materialize, as too few senators were on board with Democratic efforts, even though seven Republicans voted with Democrats in a 53–38 cloture vote.
The political will might be there for a no confidence vote this time around, though, as Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States credit rating for the first time in history. The S&P downgrade, from AAA to AA+ with a negative outlook, came after the debt ceiling compromise deal. Some Republicans have called for Geithner’s immediate resignation in the wake of the downgrade.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has also asked Geithner to step down. If he wouldn’t step down on his own, DeMint requested that President Obama see to it that Geithner is removed. (RELATED: Bachmann calls for ‘immediate resignation’ of Geithner)
It remains unclear whether other Republican senators will join Paul in calling for the no confidence vote, or whether Republican leadership in the Senate will support him. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately return The Daily Caller’s request for comment. Also, at the time of publication, no other tea party-minded senators had signed onto Paul’s call for the no confidence vote.