The Senate confirmed Jack Lew as Treasury secretary Wednesday, giving him broad responsibilities over the U.S. economy just as the country faces potentially severe budgetcuts, a still-tepid recovery and an overhaul of financial regulations that remains incomplete.
After being grilled by Republican lawmakers in recent weeks over his work and pay at bailout recipient Citigroup, Lew was given the Senate’s green light in a 71 to 26 vote.
Lew follows Timothy F. Geithner, whose tenure drew controversy after the sweeping measures taken by the U.S. government to bring the country’s economy back from the brink. The worst days of the financial crisis have passed, but Lew still has a tricky job ahead of him.
As President Obama’s recent chief of staff and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Lew is no stranger to the ongoing fiscal debate in Washington. But he will also have to delve into the world of banking; a large part of his role will involve taking steps meant to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis.