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Washington - Jacob Lew Confirmed As Treasury Secretary

Published on: February 27, 2013 06:17 PM
By: AP
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File photo Director of Jacob Lew appears before the House Budget Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA, 15 February 2011. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDSFile photo Director of Jacob Lew appears before the House Budget Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA, 15 February 2011. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Washington - The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts.

The Senate voted 71-26 to support the nomination.

Lew, 57, had most recently served as Obama’s chief of staff. He succeeds Timothy Geithner, who completed a tumultuous four-year term in which he helped lead the administration’s response to the financial crisis and recession.

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He takes over just before automatic spending cuts are set to take effect. He’s likely to take part in any negotiations to reverse the cuts, and also in key budget talks next month to continue funding the government.

Lew began his government service in the 1980s as an aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. He brings nearly three decades of government service to the job, including two stints as White House budget director.

“Mr. Lew is well-qualified to be the nation’s next Treasury secretary,” said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana. “He has demonstrated time and again that he has the knowledge and expertise” to deal with the country’s budget problems.

But Republican Sen. Jeff Session of Alabama, who opposed the nomination, said Lew is the architect of the Obama’s administration’s budget. Sessions said that budget doesn’t reduce the deficit enough.

During his confirmation hearing, Lew signaled no major economic policy changes. He advocated a balanced approach to reducing the long-term budget deficit through spending cuts and additional tax revenue.

He said he would be open to reforms to Medicare, but he didn’t spell out any details. Lew also said he would work with the committee on a rewrite of the tax code.

Beyond the budget, Lew is expected to hew closely to the positions Geithner struck on Europe’s debt crisis, the U.S. relationship with China and the administration’s defense of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law that the banking industry has fought to weaken.

Some Republicans voted against Lew because they were not satisfied with his answers about his previous employment with Citigroup, including a brief time when he was chief operating officer for an investment unit in 2008. The unit has been criticized for making risky investments that imploded during the financial crisis. And Lew received a bonus of nearly $1 million in early 2009, a time when Citi was being bailed out by taxpayers.

Lew told the panel that he didn’t make decisions about the investments being offered to clients. He said his bonus reflected compensation for his work.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, opposed Lew’s nomination. He cited questions about his time at Citi, as well as Lew’s compensation while working as chief operating officer at New York University.

“Mr. Lew’s eagerness and skill in obtaining bonuses, severance payments, housing allowances and other perks raises concerns about whether he appreciates who pays the bills,” Grassley said.

One potential weakness for Lew: His relative inexperience with financial markets and international economic crises — areas that had played to Geithner’s background. Analysts think Lew will keep pressuring Europe to deal aggressively with its budget and debt issues. But they think this will consume less of his time given that Europe’s debt crisis now poses less of a threat to the global economy.

On trade, Lew is expected to keep prodding China. The U.S. trade gap with the world’s second-largest economy hit another record high last year. No breakthrough is expected, though.

Lew will also need to calm investors who have grown concerned about possible currency wars after Japan’s new government sought to lower the value of the yen as a way to boost exports and its weak economy. A weaker yen makes Japanese goods cheaper overseas and foreign goods costlier in Japan.

And Lew will need to defend the Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauled financial regulation after the 2008 crisis. Since the law was passed in 2010, Wall Street has fought to weaken many of its stricter regulations.


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Read Comments (14)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 27, 2013 at 08:43 PM Aryeh Says:

Wow, the highest position a frum yid ever had in this country! Mazel Tov!

2

 Feb 27, 2013 at 09:18 PM Aryeh Says:

Now, whenever a potential employer casts aspersions on our ability to get our work done in 4 1/2 days a week, we can pull out a dollar bill, and point to his signature!

3

 Feb 27, 2013 at 09:23 PM Hocker411 Says:

Reply to #1  
Aryeh Says:

Wow, the highest position a frum yid ever had in this country! Mazel Tov!

really who do you think they are going to blame when the economy tanks even more

4

 Feb 27, 2013 at 09:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Aryeh Says:

Wow, the highest position a frum yid ever had in this country! Mazel Tov!

It all depends on your definition of "frum yid"....Robert Rubin and Larry Summers were both yidden who served in top posts as treasury secretary and head of CEA...obviously we have Bernanke as head of the Fed....Lew is probably more observant than these other ehrliche yidden.

5

 Feb 27, 2013 at 10:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

It all depends on your definition of "frum yid"....Robert Rubin and Larry Summers were both yidden who served in top posts as treasury secretary and head of CEA...obviously we have Bernanke as head of the Fed....Lew is probably more observant than these other ehrliche yidden.

And of course there was Henry Morgenthau, Jr, who served as FDR's Secretary of Treasury. While my understanding is that he was not as frum as someone like Jack Lew, he was a big supporter of getting the U.S. government more involved in seeking to save yidden from the Shoah. .

6

 Feb 27, 2013 at 11:12 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #1  
Aryeh Says:

Wow, the highest position a frum yid ever had in this country! Mazel Tov!

Hon. Michael Mukasey served as Attorney General, which is a similarly high position. But indeed this is a big deal. Congrats to Secretary Lew.

7

 Feb 28, 2013 at 01:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Someones "frumkeit" does not actually determine his fitness to serve the L-rd or serve in office. It is a measure of his own worth and dignity in his own prayers. We do not describe a jew as "true to every dignity" who has the truth in his voice. Mr. Lieberman was a good passionate jew as well and though he is considerably orthodox, his reality of holding office was not determined by the degree of his faith in the paradigms of true jewish religious life as much as it was by his own truth and integrity.

8

 Feb 28, 2013 at 01:28 AM Meir Says:

Reply to #1  
Aryeh Says:

Wow, the highest position a frum yid ever had in this country! Mazel Tov!

and what about the Supreme Court?

9

 Feb 28, 2013 at 02:26 AM proud-mo-israeli Says:

strange. I would have thought that you all knew that a Jew should be living in Israel. You must have missed that part of the Torah.

11

 Feb 28, 2013 at 08:28 AM ayinglefunadorf Says:

Reply to #3  
Hocker411 Says:

really who do you think they are going to blame when the economy tanks even more

"when the economy tanks even more" Really ? the stock market is at a new high, unemployment dropping weekly, interest rates (mortgages,car loans, business loans) are the lowest in USA history, 75% of frumm young men sitting in Kolel.

12

 Feb 28, 2013 at 08:53 AM AlbertEinstein Says:

Reply to #9  
proud-mo-israeli Says:

strange. I would have thought that you all knew that a Jew should be living in Israel. You must have missed that part of the Torah.

Not so strange. There are Hallachic justifications for a Jew NOT to live in Israel. You must have missed that part of the Torah.

13

 Feb 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM proud-mo-israeli Says:

Reply to #12  
AlbertEinstein Says:

Not so strange. There are Hallachic justifications for a Jew NOT to live in Israel. You must have missed that part of the Torah.

not anymore, sunshine

14

 Feb 28, 2013 at 01:17 PM Kzler Says:

Reply to #9  
proud-mo-israeli Says:

strange. I would have thought that you all knew that a Jew should be living in Israel. You must have missed that part of the Torah.

Proud Mo or whatever I thought you would know to stop shnorring from the liberal goyishe American Govrnment, and from goyishe reshoim the Germans, ZIM line all the ships buil in Bremerhaven by the fine German Drydock Blenheim and Voss, and the Delphin class submarines also built in German free of charge on the basis of all those incinerated in Birkenau, Majdanek and Treblinka. Zim Line opf course delivers Osem, Carmel and Teva products and anything sold to the treifene goyim. Yes Ahava is selling inGermany and othere wineries sell to Europeans. Why don't you lift your gluteal muscle and move to Metullah or near the Egyptian border

15

 Feb 28, 2013 at 07:19 PM concernedcitizen Says:

Reply to #14  
Kzler Says:

Proud Mo or whatever I thought you would know to stop shnorring from the liberal goyishe American Govrnment, and from goyishe reshoim the Germans, ZIM line all the ships buil in Bremerhaven by the fine German Drydock Blenheim and Voss, and the Delphin class submarines also built in German free of charge on the basis of all those incinerated in Birkenau, Majdanek and Treblinka. Zim Line opf course delivers Osem, Carmel and Teva products and anything sold to the treifene goyim. Yes Ahava is selling inGermany and othere wineries sell to Europeans. Why don't you lift your gluteal muscle and move to Metullah or near the Egyptian border

Kzler, I have seen many of your post they are very well written, however with little or no basis. Also very combative and negative. Enjoy life

16

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