Jack Lew Will Be Named Treasury Secretary

Orthodox Jew To Get Nod From White House, Report Says

By Reuters

Published January 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

President Barack Obama will nominate White House chief of staff Jack Lew to be his next Treasury secretary, choosing a budget expert and close confidant to spearhead tough fiscal fights with Congress over the U.S. deficit.

getty images

If confirmed by the Senate, Lew will replace Timothy Geithner, the longest serving member of Obama’s original economic team, who has said he would step down after one term.

A source familiar with the matter said Lew, who had been widely expected to be tapped for the role, will be nominated on Thursday.

The announcement will round out a slew of cabinet choices Obama has made in recent weeks that will help set the agenda for his second term.

Lew served as budget director for Obama and for former President Bill Clinton. A 57-year-old policy wonk, he will have to confront a host of tricky economic topics ranging from how best to scale back the government’s role in the housing market to how to respond to China’s economic heft.

But the high-profile Washington battle over how to rein in the growth of the nation’s debt and put the budget on a sustainable path will dominate his tenure.

Lew helped spearhead acrimonious talks with congressional leaders in 2011 that preceded approval of an increase in the U.S. debt ceiling. He will have to reprise that role in the next two months, when another debt ceiling deadline looms.

Though he is mistrusted by a number of Republicans, Lew has some bipartisan credentials that might help him in budget talks.

The one-time Citigroup executive honed his political skills as a policy adviser to Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who is touted as a symbol of bipartisanship because he worked with Republican President Ronald Reagan to change the tax code and the Social Security retirement program in the 1980s.

“Jack is more concerned about what’s fair than any personal attention or credit,” said Pamela Jackson, who worked with Lew when O’Neill was speaker. “He was an integral and important part of those (tax policy and Social Security) negotiations as a trusted adviser to the speaker,” she said.

Lew is an orthodox Jew and observes the Sabbath holiday, which requires him not to work, including answering phones, between Friday evenings and sunset on Saturday. During Obama’s re-election campaign, he campaigned for the president with Jewish constituents in Florida.

Lew would join Senator John Kerry, Obama’s choice for secretary of state, and former Senator Chuck Hagel, nominated for defense chief, in the top tier of the president’s circle of advisers.

His nomination will leave open the position of chief of staff. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonough, is considered the top candidate to take on that role.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.