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Lew Expected To Be Confirmed As Treasury Secretary

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Jack Lew, President Obama's pick for Treasury secretary, appears headed toward confirmation by the full Senate. He fared well during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Finance Committee yesterday.

But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, Lew did get some pointed questions from Republicans about his brief career in the private sector as an executive of Citigroup.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Lew was at Citigroup from 2006 to 2009 as the financial crisis hit, and he received a $940,000 bonus, just as the giant bank received a government bailout.

Asked whether it was immoral to accept the bonus, Lew, said he'd performed well for the company during that period.

JACK LEW: And I was compensated for my work. I'll leave for others to judge.

Lew was also questioned about his personal investment in an offshore private equity fund. Its address was a building in the Cayman Islands, which President Obama has referred to as the largest tax scam in the world. Lew said he initially wasn't aware of its location and he sold the investment in 2010.

I took a loss when I sold the investment. I always reported all income. I always paid any taxes that were due.

YDSTIE: As for more immediate matters, Lew said Congress and the White House must come up with an alternative to the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts scheduled for March 1st or risk serious damage to the economy.

John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.
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