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Senate panel set to vote Tuesday on Treasury nominee Jacob Lew

February 25, 2013|By Jim Puzzanghera
  • Jacob J. Lew, President Obama's choice to be Treasury secretary, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee.
Jacob J. Lew, President Obama's choice to be Treasury secretary,… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee is expected to vote to confirm Jacob J. Lew's nomination to be Treasury secretary on Tuesday, setting the stage for his confirmation by the full Senate in the coming days.

Lew, the former White House chief of staff, would succeed Timothy F. Geithner and would be a key player in budget negotiations between President Obama and congressional Republicans as automatic federal spending cuts are set to begin on Friday.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Sunday that his panel would vote on Lew's nomination during a Tuesday hearing on the budget and the U.S. economic outlook.

Quiz: How much do you know about looming federal budget cuts?

Baucus said Lew had "answered extensive questions in a thorough and fully transparent manner" during his confirmation hearing this month and in follow-ups from senators.

Lew faced tough questioning from some Republican senators at the Feb. 13 hearing but his confirmation did not appear in any jeopardy.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has been the most critical of Lew and was not happy with some of the nominee's answers to written questions about salary and other compensation Lew received while working as a top official at New York University and Citigroup Inc.

Grassley was particularly concerned about Lew's answer to a question about a $1.4-million loan received while working at NYU.

"I asked him for a full explanation of the terms of the loan and relevant documents. He did not provide adequate detail or the documents," Grassley said.

"I'm conveying to the Finance Committee chairman that the level of detail Mr. Lew has provided so far about the loan is unsatisfactory, and I'm requesting more detail before the committee is asked to vote on the nomination," he continued.

Grassley's concerns could lead to a delay in the committee's vote. Democrats have noted that Lew has answered far more written questions from the committee than any of his recent predecessors.

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