BREAKING: The latest from Jack Lew’s Senate confirmation hearing

Wednesday morning, the Obama administration’s nominee to become Treasury secretary, Jacob “Jack” Lew, sat before the Senate Finance Committee for his confirmation hearing. The outgoing White House chief of staff and former budget director was set to receive questions about his time as an executive of Citigroup during the financial crisis, his thinking on deficits and debt, and other topics as the Senate prepares to weigh the nomination.

Jack Lew, the nominee for Treasury secretary, faces the Senate today.  (Ron Sachs - VIA BLOOMBERG)

Jack Lew, the nominee for Treasury secretary, faces the Senate today. (Ron Sachs – VIA BLOOMBERG)

In his opening statement, Lew emphasized his desire to strengthen economic growth while charting a path toward lower budget deficits.

“Our top priority is to strengthen the recovery by fostering private sector job creation and economic growth at a time when we must make sure our economy remains resilient to headwinds from beyond our shores,” Lew said, according to a text of prepared testimony released by the Treasury. “At the same time, we must put our nation back on a path of fiscal sustainability.”

We’ll post interesting exchanges from the hearing as they happen.

10:17 a.m.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), chairman of the Finance Committee, started with the hearing with a bit of a history lesson, noting that the large bronze statue standing before the Treasury building is not, as one might guess, of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary. Rather, it is of Albert Gallatin, the longest serving secretary on record, who financed the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812 during his run in the job, from 1801 to 1814. There is, Gallatin said (according to Baucus) “no more laborious or responsible position.” The message to Lew: We have high expectations before we confirm you.

Baucus told Lew he should have three priorities if confirmed. First, “focus like a laser on job creation. Do not get distracted.” Second, “Help return stability and predictability to the nation’s capital” by helping get the government off a roller coaster of crisis after crisis. Third, “we must simplify our tax code for individuals, for businesses.” He urged Lew to take the lead in driving a thorough overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

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