Washington: Jack Lew, the former White House Chief of Staff was sworn in as Treasury Secretary of the US, putting him in immediate challenge of addressing the issue of sequestration or automatic spending cuts beginning today.
In a ceremony hosted by President Barack Obama yesterday in Oval, Lew administered the oath of office by Vice-President Joe Biden. Immediately, thereafter he chaired a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury.
Lew, 57, who replaced Timothy Geithner, will be the 76th Treasury Secretary.
The US senate voted 71-26 with the support from Republicans.
As the Secretary of the Treasury, Lew will be the principal economic advisor to the President on domestic and international financial, economic, and tax issues, and will lead the Department in promoting a strong economy, fiscal sustainability and stability in the global financial system.
Lew will also serve as Chairman of Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and Chairman of the Boards and Managing Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.
"At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack," Obama said in a statement on Wednesday after his confirmation.
"His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington," he said.
"I will continue to rely on his advice and sound judgment as we work to create good, middle-class jobs, provide more people with the skills those jobs require, and ensure every hardworking American can earn a decent living," Obama said.
Obama nominated Lew in January 2013 to succeed Timothy F Geithner Prior to being the White House Chief of Staff, he was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a position he also held in President Clinton's Cabinet from 1998 to 2001.
Today, an USD 85 billion group of budget cuts known as the sequester will go into effect. They will wipe out a host of federal programs in everything from national parks to the Pentagon to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
First Published: Friday, March 1, 2013, 11:25