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There were at least two former White House budget directors in the audience for the Lew announcement, including Alice Rivlin, who headed the budget office in the early 1990s, later became a vice chair of the Federal Reserve, and who remains a fixture in fiscal policy debate.
Also attending was Franklin Raines, who led the budget office from 1996 to 1998. Raines was ousted as chief executive of mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae after an accounting scandal.
Geithner praised Lew as “a man of exceptional judgment, calm under pressure, with an extraordinary record of accomplishment and experience” on U.S. economic policy.
Some analysts have questioned whether Lew has enough experience working on international financial issues and on banking regulations.
But the White House has highlighted international experience Lew gained during his time at the State Department, and his “strong relationships in the business community,” having worked as a managing director at Citigroup.
Thomas Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that all Treasury secretaries have to “compensate for the areas where they don’t have experience” with strong deputies.
Donohue, whose business lobby has often butted heads with the Obama administration, told reporters he thought Lew was a “skilled operative” and a “tough dude.”
“I think Jack Lew will do fine,” Donohue said.