Lew Easily Confirmed As Treasury Secretary

Feb 28 2013 | 11:08am ET

Former Citigroup hedge fund executive Jacob Lew was easily confirmed as the 75th U.S. Treasury secretary yesterday.

Lew's approval offered a rare bit of bipartisan good nature on an increasingly polarized and bitter Capitol Hill. Twenty Republicans joined 51 Democrats in backing his appointment, against 25 Republicans and Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), who usually votes with Democrats, voting no.

The confirmation follows the bitterly contested approval of Lew's new Cabinet colleague, Defense Secretary Charles Hagel, yesterday, and just days in advance of $1.3 trillion in automatic budget cuts set to take effect on Friday.

Unlike Hagel, Lew won G.O.P. support with a strong appearance before the Senate Finance Committee, and in spite of questions about his investments and a large exit bonus he received when he left New York University to join Citi.

"Jack was by my side as we confronted our nation's toughest challenges," President Barack Obama said. "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."

Lew served as chief operating officer at Citi Alternative Investments between 2006 and 2009, when he returned to Washington as deputy secretary for management and resources at the State Department. He then served as director of the Office of Management and Budget and White House chief of staff.

Lew also served as head of OMB under President Bill Clinton.

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