WASHINGTON – Jacob Lew, President Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, pledged to work with Congress on a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code while urging lawmakers to avoid automatic spending cuts that could slow the economy’s progress.
During a three-hour confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Finance Committee, Lew fielded a broad range of questions about how he would handle a number of challenging issues, including Europe’s debt crisis, U.S.-China relations and the implementation of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul.
But the sharpest questions focused on his brief tenure at Citibank, where he was a top executive during the height of the financial crisis. Republicans pressed him about his duties and a nearly $1 million bonus he received when the bank was being bailed out by taxpayers.
Overall, the hearing was mostly friendly with few tense moments. And when it concluded, Sen. Orrin Hatch, the panel’s ranking Republican, said he thought Lew had “done very well.”
Lew, 57, most recently served as Obama’s chief of staff. He is expected to win Senate confirmation late this month and would succeed Timothy Geithner, who stepped down in January after serving as Treasury secretary during Obama’s first term.