The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts.
The vote was 71 to 26 to support the nomination. A total of 25 Republicans and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted against Lew’s confirmation.
Lew, 57, served as Obama’s chief of staff. He succeeds Timothy Geithner, who completed a tumultuous four-year term, helping lead the administration’s response to the financial crisis.
Lew is scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday. He will take over just one day before automatic spending cuts are set to take effect.
Lew began his government service in the 1980s as an aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. He brings nearly three decades of government service to the job, including two stints as White House budget director.
“Mr. Lew is well-qualified to be the nation’s next Treasury secretary,” said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat.
But Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, who opposed the nomination, said Lew as budget director was the architect of the Obama’s administration’s failed efforts to get soaring deficits under control.