By Pam Martens: February 26, 2013
The American people can rest assured that it’s still business as usual in Washington. Despite growing financial questions swirling around Treasury Secretary nominee, Jack Lew, the Senate Finance committee confirmed his nomination moments ago in a 19 to 5 vote. The full Senate must still vote and is expected to do so this week or next.
Senator Orrin Hatch, who said many questions about Lew’s time at two employers, New York University and Citigroup, remain unclear, failed to show the courage of his convictions and voted yes on the nomination, saying the President was owed deference in his selections.
Only Senator Chuck Grassley showed any courage in today’s hearing, asking to speak on the nomination and then voting no. Grassley said the Obama administration continues to criticize Congress when it is simply fulfilling its role of due diligence. He said Lew had real “eagerness and skill” at getting paid, likely alluding to the $940,000 bonus Lew received from Citigroup after taxpayers had bailed out the insolvent bank and the fact that Lew earned more at one point as an administrator at NYU than the President of the University.
Grassley said Lew’s statement that he couldn’t remember the interest rate on a $1.4 million loan from NYU “doesn’t pass the laugh test.” Grassley finished by reminding his colleagues that “transparency and sunlight are essential for Congress.”
Watching the proceeding live a few moments ago, it’s quite clear that when it comes to courage, integrity and concern for the interests of the American people, Democrats do not have a right to illusions of moral superiority. Senator Grassley is a Republican and the only member of the Senate Finance Committee who acquitted himself well today.