Jack Lew, who has been nominated by President Obama to lead the U.S. Treasury, said before the Senate Banking Committee this week that he disagreed with the idea that Washington bipartisanship is no longer possible.
“I have reached across the aisle to forge honorable compromises my entire professional life,” Lew said. “I have been involved in almost every major bipartisan budget agreement over the last 30 years…And I can honestly say that the things that divide Washington right now are not as insurmountable as they might look. The truth is, we all share the same goals. We want an economy that is expanding. We want a private sector that is robust. We want a vibrant job market that gives anybody who works hard the chance to get ahead. We want a financial system that helps families save and channels investment to support innovation and entrepreneurs. We want a strong housing market. We want a global economy that is prosperous, inclusive and secure. We want a vigorous manufacturing base and a level playing field for American companies. And we want a government that lives within its means.”
Lew previously served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under former president Bill Clinton in the 1990s and oversaw three budget surpluses. From 1979 to 1987, he served as a principal domestic policy advisor to former House Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., and as liaison to the Greenspan Commission, which was responsible for bipartisan Social Security reforms.
Lew said that the nation’s top priorities are to bring American manufacturing back to U.S. shores, reform the tax system to ensure the growth of American businesses, implement financial reform to strengthen the U.S. financial system and work with global partners to promote global economic stability.
“At the same time, we must put our nation back on a path of fiscal sustainability,” Lew said. “Over the past two years, we have locked in $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and revenue increases. And we can do even more to shrink the deficit over the next decade through a balanced mix of spending reductions and tax reforms and sensible reforms to Medicare that will help the program stay sound in the future…It is going to take a lot of hard work to achieve these goals. We have plenty of obstacles ahead. But when I think of what our nation has been able to achieve since our founding, I have no doubt that we will work together to find solutions to today’s challenges.”