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“For all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it, three times,” Obama said.
NEXT STEP: THE SENATE
Lew’s nomination now will be vetted by the Senate, where Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus promised a “speedy but thorough” hearing. No date has yet been set.
“We must ensure Treasury has the leadership it needs as we tackle our country’s pressing economic issues and work together to continue our recovery and create jobs,” Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said in a statement.
Senator Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the panel, said he plans to ask Lew about the administration’s strategy for spending cuts, something Republicans have insisted needs t o be made clear before they will agree to raise the debt ceiling.
Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, which could be reached as early as mid-February.
“It’s imperative that Mr. Lew outline the Administration’s plans on tackling our unsustainable debt, what areas of federal spending should be cut, and what kind of reforms - from our tax code to our entitlement programs - are needed to get our fiscal house in order,” Hatch said in a statement.
‘TIM PUT IT BACK TOGETHER’
At the White House announcement, Geithner earned sustained applause from the crowd of friends and family for his work helping the administration navigate the financial crisis that put banks at risk and cratered the housing and stock market early in Obama’s first term.
“With the wreckage of our economy still smoldering and unstable, I asked Tim to help put it back together,” Obama said.