Lew moves closer to confirmation with Senate Finance vote
February 26th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Lew moves closer to confirmation with Senate Finance vote

(CNN) - Jack Lew came one step closer to Senate confirmation as President Barack Obama's second Treasury secretary when the Senate Finance Committee approved his nomination Tuesday.

His nomination now goes to the full Senate where he is expected to be easily confirmed – especially compared to Obama's nominee for Defense secretary, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, who faced a Republican filibuster of his nomination

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But that isn't to say Lew's ride through the committee was easy. He faced tough questions from Republicans about his leadership of a Citigroup bank unit which made bets against the housing market ahead of that sector's collapse, which drove the 2008 financial crisis, as well as an investment program for employees that he participated in and was based in the Cayman Islands. He has also come under scrutiny for receiving a $900,000 bonus while taxpayers were bailing out the bank, and a more recently reported bonus upon leaving New York University where he was executive vice president.

Lew has said he did not make investment decisions at Citigroup and that he paid all taxes on the investment, which he sold when leaving the company for a loss.

But Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and one of Lew's dissenters, said "Mr. Lew is very good at getting paid by taxpayer supported institutions"

"Mr. Lew's eagerness and skill at obtaining bonuses, severance payments and perks raise questions about whether he appreciates who pays the bill," Grassley said.

The ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and three other Republicans - Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania - joined all 14 Democrats on the panel voting in favor of Lew. Five Republicans cast the only votes against Lew: Grassley, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Michael Enzi of Wyoming, and John Cornyn of Texas.

Lew, 57, was Obama's chief of staff for approximately a year and was nominated in January to succeed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

His nomination heads to the floor as Congress and the White House are staring down forced federal spending cuts which kick in at the end of the week. There appears to be little chance of passing a plan before then to avert them, and each side is placing the blame squarely on the other.

Filed under: Jack Lew • Senate • Treasury
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Lew is more than qualified for the position. I prefer him over someone like Jamie Dimon whose name was being floated around for the job.

    February 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    It appears that the Senate is in session conducting confirmation votes. They should have several on the docket, more than just the high profile confirmations. What's the House of Representatives doing? ???

    February 26, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. spiris333

    Those with common sense know that if Obama is for something or someone like Lew, it can't be good for America. This is a routine that has become obvious with this incompetent president. America will be going through some trying times with this liberal Marxist running the country into the ground, but he'll blame someone else for it.

    February 26, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. jpmichigan

    Mr. Lew and the President came up with the Sequester, to be used in Lew's words " as a trigger". You ask a trigger for what, for increase taxes on the American people. Mr. Lew and the Democrats with Obama want to spend more so they need more revenue. Taxes NOW on the wealthy BUT eventually on the middle class. Crisis after crisis hits the American taxpayer with one thought and goal in mind, more taxation, more spending.

    February 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. rob

    This guy is the ultimate Wall St insider turned Govt insider. The utter hypocracy of his nomination to run the Treasury is the fact that was was gromed at one of the countries largest banks, Citibank during the meltdown (he can't remember what he was doing at the time). The Bank recieved a taxpayer bailout and then gave Lew an $800,000 severance after he announced he would leave volantarily to go to a big Govt job in a Democrat Administration. He had investments in the Caymen Islands (The same that Romney was villified for) that he claims he didn't know about.

    Jack lew serriously lacks the experience or clout to be in the most powerful financial position in the country. He will be nothing more than a Yes man lacky for the President in his quest to "Fundamentaly transform" the United States into a European style social democratic state.

    Of course these facts don't interest CNN or the other Lap dog, Dem propagandist liberal media. Their too busy parroting the Dems lies about the Sequester cuts and burying the fact that the Republicans in the House have sent TWO BILLS to the Senate to adjust the spending reductions more responsibly but Harry Reid has not taken them up or introduced any competing set of bills at all.

    February 26, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. what's up

    The clown, who had the idea for Sequestration, will now replace Tiny Tim, the tax cheat. More spending here we come. Wonder if Lew will have Bernanke buy $120 Billion a month of worthless Obama Debt?

    February 26, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |