President Obama plans to nominate White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew as his next Treasury secretary, choosing a trusted adviser with deep experience in the nation’s budget challenges and in the legislative warfare that will test Obama’s second term, according to people familiar with the matter.
The selection of Lew, 57, is an acknowledgment that at least the next several months will involve a sustained conflict with congressional Republicans over the nation’s finances. The government is likely to face a deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling no later than March 1 — as well as a series of deep and automatic spending cuts set to begin around the same time.
Lew’s appointment signals continuity between Obama’s first and second term and suggests that the president would not be taking a significantly different approach to governing. Lew has served as Obama’s budget director and the No. 2 State Department official. He also was budget director during the Clinton administration and has been negotiating compromises over taxes and spending since the 1980s, when he was a top aide to then-House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.).
Lew’s appointment would finally allow Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to depart — something he has wanted to do for over a year. Geithner, the president’s longest-serving economic adviser, stayed on after a personal plea from the president.
The nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate, where many Republicans do not like his negotiating style. But there has been no groundswell of opposition in recent weeks, since Lew was reported to be a candidate to lead the Treasury Department.
The White House on Wednesday did not confirm Lew’s nomination but did praise him.
“Jack Lew has been and continues to be an extremely valuable adviser to the president,” press secretary Jay Carney said. “Over the past quarter of a century, Jack Lew has been integral part some of most important budget and fiscal agreements in Washington.”
While Geithner came into office amid a financial crisis and recession, Lew’s challenges would be of a different type. He would start off as part of a team trying to lift the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. He would also be trying to raise taxes to shrink budget deficits and avoid deep spending cuts that could crimp the nation’s economic growth or threaten the social safety net.
Now what are all the people going to say who screamed that President Obama is an "Anti-Semite" because he named Chuck Hagel ("an Anti-Semite!" because he once said something about AIPAC or something) for Defense.
What could they say: "This proves he's an Anti-Semite because only an Anti-Semite thinks that Jews are good with money!1!")
When was the last time an Anti-Semite appointed a Jew as Treasurer? Oh yeah, Pharoah.