Jacob Lew confirmed as US Treasury Secretary

Updated: 2013-02-28 09:20


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WASHINGTON - Jacob Lew was confirmed on Wednesday by the US Senate as Treasury Secretary, as Democrats and Republicans are haggling over the looming government spending cuts.

The upper chamber of the US Congress on Wednesday voted 71-26 to confirm Lew, President Barack Obama's pick to succeed Timothy Geithner.

Obama last month nominated the former White House Chief of Staff to lead the Treasury Department, a big step in shaping his economic team for the second term.

Lew, a budget expert, served as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in President Bill Clinton's cabinet from 1998 to 2001. During his tenure at the OMB, he helped the federal government achieve budget surpluses for three consecutive years.

Lew served in the Obama administration as deputy secretary of state from 2009 to 2010 and as the OMB director from November 2010 to January 2012. He became the White House Chief of Staff in January 2012.

Lew's imminent challenges as Treasury Secretary would be achieving consensus with GOP leaders to reduce the mounting government debt and coping with the negative effects of the looming government spending cuts.

Roughly $85 billion dollars of automatic spending cuts are set to hit various government departments this year starting March 1, as agreed by Democrats and Republicans in January in their negotiations to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff."