My piece on the homepage today examines the soon-to-be-scrutinized record of Jack Lew, announced today as President Obama’s nominee to succeed Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary.
Republicans, not surprisingly, aren’t big fans of the president’s choice, but there is still a sense that Lew will be confirmed by the Senate rather easily.
Not so fast, one GOP Senate aide tells National Review Online.
“Once all the facts are known, he will have a difficult time being confirmed,” says Stephen Miller, communications director for Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.).
Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, is leading the opposition against Lew’s nomination. “Jack Lew must never be Secretary of the Treasury,” he said in a statement Thursday.
The Senator’s critique of Lew centers on a series of misleading statements he made about the president’s budget resolutions, which Lew helped draft as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Lew came under fire in 2012 for remarks he made trying to excuse the Democratic Senate’s refusal to produce a budget over the past three years. On the Sunday-show circuit in February, he attempted to blame Republicans for the Senate’s inaction (1,350 days and counting), suggesting that 60 votes were need to pass a budget. A budget resolution is one of the few types of legislation not subject to the 60-vote threshold normally required in the Senate. Republicans were alarmed that an acting OMB director was either so ignorant of the federal budget process or so willing to mislead the American people.
Lew’s remarks, and his close association with the president’s budget proposals, are likely to be a central component of the GOP opposition to his nomination.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, has also taken Lew to task on multiple occasions for making misleading claims about the president’s budgets, the most recent of which projected total national debt to reach more than $26 trillion by 2021.
Lew, for instance, told CNN’s Candy Crowley in February 2011 that the president’s budget “will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore” — a claim PolitiFact rated “false.”