Jan 9, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from Bloomberg: President Barack Obama plans to name White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew tomorrow as his choice for Treasury secretary, replacing Timothy F. Geithner, a person familiar with the process said.
Lew, 57, who also has served as director of the Office of Management and Budget, has been offered the Treasury post by Obama, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss personnel matters.
Geithner, 51, the only remaining member of Obama’s original economic team, has told White House officials he doesn’t want to serve in a second term and intends to leave the job by the end of the month.
Lew’s nomination as Treasury secretary is subject to confirmation by the Senate. While his relations with Republicans have been at times strained, he’s successfully been through the Senate process before.
His prospects for confirmation are “extraordinarily high,” and Lew might get 85 votes in the 100-member chamber, said Stan Collender, a former staff member of the Senate and House budget committees and now a partner at Qorvis Communications in Washington.
The next Treasury secretary will play a leading role in working with Congress to raise the government’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. reached the statutory limit on Dec. 31, and the Treasury Department began using extraordinary measures to finance the government. It will exhaust that avenue as early as mid-February, the Congressional Budget Office says.
“Your big job is to see the big picture and obviously to protect the president’s behind,” Collender said. “He’s got the big view, he’s got the president’s trust.”
In the next 18-24 months, lawmakers will also consider overhauling the tax code and the entitlement programs that consume hundreds of billions in the budget each year.
“Social Security, Medicare and taxes fall directly into the Treasury secretary’s purview,” Collender said. “You got to look at this job as not just being secretary of the Treasury but being the chief economic policy maker. And that’s what he brings.”
As a former aide to the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat, and a two-time director of the Office of Management and Budget, Lew has experience on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
He’s spent most of his career in government, with a brief detour to Wall Street, where he worked as a managing director for Citigroup from July 2006 until joining the administration as deputy secretary of state for management and resources when Obama first took office.
Lew served as Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget from November 2010 to January 2012. He held the position previously from July 1998 to January 2001, in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Obama is filling out his Cabinet for a second term. On Dec. 21, he announced his choice of Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, as secretary of state, replacing Hillary Clinton. On Jan. 7 Obama said he would nominate former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
Obama has several other cabinet and cabinet-rank jobs to fill, including commerce secretary, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, U.S. trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Among the leading candidates to replace Lew as Obama’s chief of staff are Denis McDonough, currently a deputy national security adviser, and Ron Klain, who had served as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, according to people familiar with the administration’s plans.