US Treasury Secretary nominee warns of spending cuts

Updated: 2013-02-14 02:51


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WASHINGTON - US Treasury Secretary nominee Jacob Lew on Wednesday warned of the harms to be caused by the looming government spending cuts scheduled to kick in on March 1.

"We cannot allow the series of harmful automatic spending cuts known as the sequester to go into effect on March 1. These cuts would impose self-inflicted wounds to the recovery and put far too many jobs and businesses at risk," according to his prepared testimony before the Senate Finance Committee.

Roughly 85 billion US dollars of spending cuts were set to hit various US governmental departments this year starting on March 1, as agreed by Democrats and Republicans in January to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff."

"As we move forward with deficit reduction, we need to make sure we leave sufficient room for critical investments in education, research, and infrastructure that we need for our economy to grow and compete globally," he argued at the committee hearing on his nomination.

"Our top priority is to strengthen the recovery by fostering private sector job creation and economic growth at a time when we must make sure our economy remains resilient to headwinds from beyond our shores," he contended.

That means making it easier to sell US goods abroad and expand manufacturing in the United States. It means working with U. S. partners around the globe and through organizations like the Group of Twenty (G20) to bolster the international financial system and promote global economic stability, he said.

"It means moving forward on the work to complete financial reform so that the system is less vulnerable to crisis, with greater protections for investors and consumers. And it means reforming the tax system so American businesses can thrive and remain competitive," Lew noted.

US President Barack Obama last month tapped Lew, a government budget veteran, as the next Treasury Secretary succeeding Timothy Geithner, a big step of shaping the presidential economic team in his second term.