President Barack Obama has officially nominated his chief of staff Jack Lew to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. On his way out, Obama credited Geithner with having a "steady hand" throughout the past four years while he navigated rocky waters of economic turmoil. He touted bailout and stimulus spending saying a large portion of loaned money has been paid back.
"When history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of the finest secretaries of Treasury," Obama said.
In choosing Jack Lew to take Geithner's place, Obama is confident.
"“I trust his judgement, I value his friendship, I know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left,” Obama said. “My loss will be the nation’s gain....Jack has my complete trust."
Obama called on the Senate to confirm Lew as quickly as possible, but given the latest rumblings on Capitol Hill over his nomination that's unlikely to happen.
The top Republican lawmaker on the Senate Budget Committee fired a warning shot Thursday as President Obama prepared to tap Chief of Staff Jack Lew for Treasury secretary, vowing to oppose the nomination over a "false" statement Lew made about the national debt.
"Jack Lew must never be secretary of Treasury," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said, calling Lew's comments nearly two years ago "so outrageous and false" as to disqualify him.
Sessions was referring to a bitter Senate hearing from February 2011, when Lew attempted to defend statements he and Obama had made claiming their budget blueprint would get the country to a point where "we're not adding to the debt anymore."
Those statements, at best, stretched the truth. The White House budget plan at the time showed the public debt (which isn't the entire debt) soaring from $11 trillion that year to nearly $19 trillion by 2021, driven by year-after-year deficits.
Yet Lew, appearing at a Senate hearing, tried to justify the claim that the government was not adding to the debt. He said the administration was merely referring to "primary balance" -- or federal spending that does not count interest payments.
He repeated the claim before the Senate. "Our spending will not add to the debt," Lew said. "It's an accurate statement."
As Guy wrote yesterday, Lew is a disaster.