Jack Lew, Georgetown University Law Center graduate from the class of 1983, was approved as Secretary of the Treasury on February 27, 2013 by a vote of 71-26. The Chairman of the Senate committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), praised the nominee, stating: “Jack understands what it takes to tackle our economic and fiscal challenges in a balanced and bipartisan way.”
Jack Lew was born in in 1955, New York City, where he later graduated from Forest Hills High School. He then went on to graduate from Harvard College in 1978 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1983.
Lew’s political career commenced in the 1970s when he began working as a legislative aid to U.S representative Joe Moakley when he was just 19 years old. He then became one of the principal policy advisors to house speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., where he served at the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee as Assistant Director and subsequently as Executive Director.
Afterwards, he became the speaker’s liaison to the Greenspan Commission, which played an instrumental role in reforming social security in 1983. He was part of the Clinton cabinet as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and served as a member of the National Security Council. During his tenure at the OMB, the United States operated at a surplus for three consecutive years. Prior to working at the OMB, Lew served as Special Assistant to the President in the Clinton Administration.
Apart from the fact that much was made of Lew’s loopy signature by the mainstream media and some concerns over his connections to Wall Street stemming from his time working at Citigroup where he worked as Chief Operating Officer of Citygroup’s alternative investment unit, his nomination went through relatively smoothly. He has recieved praise on both sides of the aisle as exemplified by Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) statement in 2011 that Lew “was always very polite and respectful in his tone and someone who I can tell is very committed to his principles.”
President Obama, in a statement following Lew’s confirmation, said that “At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack”.
Dean Treanor stated, “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to Jack Lew…. Jack’s leadership and distinguished achievements exemplify Georgetown Law’s commitment to public service.”
Before becoming Treasury Secretary, Lew succeeded Bill Dailey as Chief of Staff, and he served in that position until January 25, 2013, during which he most notably appeared as one of the most prominent supporters and negotiators for the “grand bargain” deal between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Lew was co-chairman of the Advisory Board for the city of New York and on the board of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Tobin Project, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Brooking Institution Family Project.