The Senate began consideration of Jack Lew to be the next Treasury secretary on Wednesday, with a final vote slated for later in the day.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) set up the vote to take place after no more than eight hours of debate, meaning the vote could happen any time before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Both sides could yield back debate time, allowing the vote to happen earlier in the day.
“We need a strong man at the helm to help tackle the many fiscal challenges facing this nation and I believe Jack Lew is that man,” Baucus said. “He is eager to work with all of us here in Congress to strengthen the American economy.”
The Senate Finance Committee cleared his nomination Tuesday in a 19-5 vote. Despite supporting Lew in committee, ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he still has questions about whether Lew is the right person for the job.
Hatch complained that the committee only had 12 days to vet Lew’s nomination. He also has expressed concerned about Lew having received compensation from Citigroup, saying that Lew’s appointment might look like the administration is catering to special interests. But Hatch said he believes the president has the right to select his cabinet, which is why he would vote for Lew’s confirmation.
"I am bending over backwards to show deference to the president’s nomination and I hope that doesn’t go unnoticed," Hatch said.
Lew is currently serving as White House chief of staff.
Baucus said the only problem with Lew’s nomination is his “loopy signature,” which will appear on U.S. currency.
“I’m not sure if people will be able to read his loopy signature,” Baucus said. “But his signature will be on Federal Reserve notes. It has been described to be a stretched out slinky … but he has promised to make at least one letter legible.”