The Latest: Mnuchin sworn in as treasury secretary

AP News
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Posted: Feb 13, 2017 8:56 PM
The Latest: Mnuchin sworn in as treasury secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's Cabinet confirmations (all times EST):

8:55 p.m.

Steven Mnuchin has been sworn in as the next treasury secretary.

Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-chin) took the oath of office in the Oval Office Monday night.

President Donald Trump says that Mnuchin spent his entire career making money in the private sector and now will go to work for the American taxpayer.

Trump says Americans should know that "our nation's financial system is truly in great hands."

Mnuchin was confirmed by the Senate late Monday despite strong objections from Democrats who said the former banker made much of his fortune by foreclosing on struggling homeowners during the financial crisis.

Republicans say Mnuchin's background in finance makes him well qualified for the job.

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7:53 p.m.

The Senate has confirmed physician David Shulkin to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Trump administration.

The vote Monday was 100-0.

Shulkin is a former Obama administration official who had served as the VA's top health official since 2015.

He is the first non-veteran to lead the government's second-largest department.

Shulkin has pledged a more modest approach to fixing the VA than had been suggested by Donald Trump on the campaign trail. The 57-year-old physician has ruled out wide-scale firings and privatization of the embattled agency as ways to reduce the length of time veterans must wait for medical care.

The VA has nearly 370,000 employees and an annual budget of nearly $167 billion.

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7:30 p.m.

The Senate has confirmed Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary despite complaints by Democrats that the former banker ran a "foreclosure machine" when he headed OneWest Bank.

The vote was 53-47 Monday night.

Republicans said Mnuchin's long tenure in finance is an ample prerequisite for the Treasury job. Mnuchin is also a former top executive at Goldman Sachs.

Democrats complained that Mnuchin made much of his fortune by foreclosing on families during the financial crisis.

Mnuchin assembled a group to buy the failed IndyMac. He renamed it OneWest and turned it around, selling it for a profit in 2014.

Mnuchin has said he had worked hard during the financial crisis to assist homeowners with refinancing so they could remain in their homes.

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5:55 p.m.

Four Republicans on the Senate committee considering President Donald Trump's nominee for labor secretary aren't saying publicly if they will vote for him.

It would only take three Republicans to derail Andrew Puzder's nomination in the full Senate if every Democrat votes against him.

The four senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have said they're waiting for Puzder to answer questions at Thursday's confirmation hearing before they make up their minds.

Collins on Monday also became the first Republican to say publicly that she is evaluating abuse accusations leveled three decades ago by Puzder's ex-wife. Lisa Fierstein has since recanted, most recently writing to senators last month that the fast food executive was never violent.

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2 p.m.

Mitt Romney is urging the Senate to confirm fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as President Donald Trump's labor secretary.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee said on social media that Puzder "knows how hard Americans work, and how much that work means to them and their families." He said the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. would help create jobs by rolling back burdensome regulations on businesses.

Puzder's long-delayed confirmation hearing is set for Thursday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading the argument against Puzder, saying he would side with businesses over workers from atop the agency charged with enforcing workplace protections. She also said he would have potential conflicts of interest despite his plan to divest from CKE.

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3:28 a.m.

The Senate is poised to confirm President Donald Trump's pick for treasury secretary despite complaints by Democrats that the former banker failed to protect thousands of homeowners from unnecessary foreclosures.

Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-chin) used to head OneWest Bank. He says he worked hard during the financial crisis to assist homeowners with refinancing so that they could remain in their homes.

Republicans say Mnuchin's long tenure in finance is an ample prerequisite for the Treasury job.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts says Mnuchin is a Wall Street insider whose bank was "a foreclosure machine."

The Senate is scheduled to vote on Mnuchin Monday evening. The Senate is also scheduled to vote on the nomination of David Shulkin to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.