Lew vows to press China on currency rate

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Hatch, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, pressed Lew across several questions about what he would do to pressure China on its currency. Lew was nonspecific in his responses, stating that the Obama administration supports taking effective steps that are also "consistent with our international obligations."

The White House has resisted pressure from both parties to formally label China a currency manipulator, and Lew, most recently President Obama's chief of staff, gave no indication that his approach would be any different.

Lew's answers on China currency were among dozens of statements he provided to Hatch in writing. All told, Lew answered 444 written questions from the Finance Committee, which is more than the past six Treasury secretaries faced combined during their confirmations.

Hatch's questions spanned a wide range of subjects, including Lew's time at Citigroup, the Treasury Department's social media policy and the nation's fiscal trajectory.

Lew said a stable debt-to-GDP ratio is a "key indicator of fiscal sustainability," and said Obama's fiscal 2013 budget, when paired with deficit reduction agreements reached since 2011, would do just that.

Once again, Lew defended a $56,000 investment he made while at Citigroup that was housed in an infamous tax shelter in the Cayman Islands. He maintained he did not consider tax issues in making the investment, and was simply looking to increase the level of risk in his portfolio, which typically had been "very conservative." He noted that he eventually sold the investment at a loss, and has fully disclosed its existence several times.

Lew also insisted that the Dodd-Frank financial reform law effectively ends "too big to fail" banks and eliminates the need for future taxpayer bailouts, and reiterated the need to entice private capital back into the mortgage market as part of overhauling the nation's housing finance system.