Jack Lew was confirmed by the Senate yesterday to be the next Treasury secretary by a wider margin of victory than Tim Geithner in 2009.
That vote was 60-34. Lew, President Obama’s trusted former chief of staff, slipped by on a 71-26 vote.
Leading Obama, naturally, to praise the bipartisan nature of his pick.
“At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack. As my Chief of Staff, Jack was by my side as we confronted our nation’s toughest challenges,” Obama said in a statement. “His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington.”
Twenty Republicans voted for Lew and 25 opposed the nomination.
“I’m voting against Mr. Lew solely because of his indifference and that of the Obama administration to our nation’s biggest challenge: out-of-control automatic spending increases that continue to create a massive federal debt,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
Fifty Democrats and Independent Angus King (Maine) voted for Lew. Two didn’t vote, Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the lone “no” vote against Lew in the Democratic caucus.
“We need a secretary of the Treasury who does not come from Wall Street but is prepared to stand up to the enormous power of Wall Street. We need a Treasury secretary who will end the current Wall Street business model of operating the largest gambling casino the world has ever seen and demand that Wall Street start investing in the job-creating productive economy. Do I believe that Jack Lew is that person? No, I do not,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he is “extremely concerned that virtually all of his [Obama’s] key economic advisers have come from Wall Street.”
“Do I believe that Mr. Lew will aggressively crack down on offshore tax havens as Treasury secretary and help us bring in the substantial revenue that we need to reduce the deficit and create jobs? No, I do not,” the senator continued.
“In my view, we need a Treasury secretary who will stand up to Republicans and some Democrats in Washington and tell them we will not cut Social Security or Medicare benefits. In fact, we need a Treasury secretary who has the courage to say that to the president as well. Do I believe that Mr. Lew is that person? No, I do not.”