Geithner: European crisis could hurt US economy

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | October 6, 2011 | 10:25 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the European debt crisis could cause significant damage to the U.S. economy, and the Obama administration is urging European leaders to deal more forcefully with the crisis.

Geithner says European authorities must make sure that the nations and financial institutions under pressure have access to a more powerful financial backstop.

Geithner says in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee that the debt crisis has already slowed growth significantly in Europe and around the world.

Geithner says major U.S. banks and money market funds have substantially reduced their exposure to the countries facing the most pressure. But he says a worsening crisis could undermine confidence in the U.S. and weaken consumer demand.