Executive Sessionby Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Posted on 2013-02-27
CARDIN. Mr. President, shortly, I hope, we will be voting on the
confirmation of Jack Lew to be the next Secretary of the Treasury, and
I urge my colleagues to support that nomination. He is the right person
at the right time to be Secretary of the Treasury. He has devoted his
entire life to public service. I thank him for that, and I thank him
for his willingness to continue to serve his Nation. He has a great
record of accomplishment.
I have known Jack Lew for 26 years. I have served with him on common issues, and I want to bring to the attention of my colleagues some of the things he has done. He first served in the House of Representatives as a staff person for Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. In that capacity, one of the responsibilities he had was to be the liaison to the commission that was working on Social Security reform when President Reagan was President of the United States. I mention that because I think we all point to that time when a Democratic-controlled Congress and a Republican administration were able to deal with one of the most difficult challenges of the time, the solvency of Social Security, and they were able to come together with a bipartisan product. Jack Lew's fingerprints were involved in that transaction. He was able to bring us together. We need that type of person as Secretary of the Treasury today, a person who will bring together our Nation with the type of fiscal policy that Democrats and Republicans can rally behind as we look for a solution to our fiscal issues.
He was President Clinton's OMB Director, and during that time we balanced the Federal budget. We were able to do something that has only been done once in my lifetime; that is, we actually balanced the Federal budget. Jack Lew was the architect of bringing us together to balance the Federal budget. We need that type of leadership in the Treasury today--a person who understands fiscal responsibility and understands how to do it in a way where you can create job growth. During those years, let me remind us, we created millions of jobs.
He then returned to public service as the OMB Director for President Obama and as Chief of Staff. He has the experience we need to be Secretary of the Treasury, and he has the political know-how to bring us together--Democrats, Republicans, Americans--to do what is right for this country.
I am proud he is willing to step forward. I urge my colleagues to support his nomination. He is the right person at the right time to lead our Nation on fiscal policy.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that there be 10 minutes remaining for debate, equally divided in the usual form, on the Lew nomination; that following the use or yielding back of time, the Senate proceed to vote.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, earlier today I spoke in support of Jack Lew's nomination to be the next Treasury Secretary. Over the last 6 hours or so some have come to the Senate floor to question Mr. Lew's character, claiming he has not been forthcoming throughout his confirmation.
Let me remind my colleagues that Mr. Lew participated in one of the most thorough reviews of any candidate for this position: a process that included hours of interviews and the examination of 6 years of tax records and more than 700 questions for the Record. In comparison, the committee asked Secretary Geithner only 289 questions--only; Secretary Paulson 81; and Secretary Snowe 75 questions. Remember, Jack Lew was asked over 700 questions.
Throughout the confirmation process, Mr. Lew has been nothing but open and transparent. I believe he has gained the trust and confidence of many in this Chamber. In fact, 19 of 24 Senators on the Senate Finance Committee yesterday voted on a bipartisan basis in favor of Jack Lew's nomination.
Many recognize that Mr. Lew is well qualified to be the Nation's next Treasury Secretary. He has demonstrated time and again that he has the knowledge and policy expertise to help get the Nation's economy back on track. He is a very smart man and a very dedicated, total public servant.
If confirmed by the Senate today, Mr. Lew has said he is eager to work with all of us here in the Congress to strengthen the American economy and create more jobs. That is the key, work together to create more jobs. The only way we could get past these constant budget battles is by working together, Republicans and Democrats, in the House and the Senate, and we need to work with Mr. Lew and the administration to craft policies that create more jobs and spark economic growth.
If confirmed, we will be entrusting Mr. Lew with the authority to oversee America's financial system and economic policy. It is a great responsibility, one which I believe Mr. Lew will live up to. I think he has what it takes.
The Treasury Secretary is obviously the top economic adviser to the President. He works for the President and he works for the country. So the second role of the Treasury Secretary is to speak to the Nation about our Nation's finances. It is a dual role. He is working for the President and he is also working for all of us, the people of the United States of America. It is a very prestigious, very important position. When he speaks, he is speaking for America on financial matters and also on economic matters. It is a separate role that all Treasury Secretaries perform, the good ones, and I think Jack Lew is going to be a very good one.
I ask my colleagues to confirm Mr. Lew today as the Nation's next Treasury Secretary so he can get to work and help strengthen the economy.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.