WASHINGTON, D.C. – Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has voiced his support of President Obama’s nomination of Jacob Lew as Treasury Secretary, as well as his concerns on the general lack of responsiveness from the Obama administration. He also issued a statement concerning his opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination to serve as Secretary of Defense.
Lew nomination and an unresponsive administration
In advance of the Senate Finance Committee vote on Lew’s nomination on Tuesday, Hatch delivered the following remarks:
“At the outset, let me say that I intend to vote today in favor of Lew’s confirmation. I believe the president is owed a fair amount of deference in choosing people to work in his administration and, though I would have chosen a different person for this particular post, I intend to defer to President Obama with regard to the Lew nomination.
That said, I do have serious reservations regarding Lew that have not been assuaged through the committee’s consideration of this appointment. In the end, I hope that he will prove me wrong.
For example, I strongly disagree with Lew on some significant policy issues; most notably, his decision to backtrack from the administration’s previous position on the need for entitlement reform and his belief in the need for higher taxes.
Ultimately, I hope we end up with the Lew of the Clinton administration, not just another acolyte of the Obama White House. I hope we get a Treasury Secretary willing to work with the other side of the aisle, to put our nation first in order to confront the challenges facing us today.
If Lew is that kind of Treasury Secretary, then I think we can work together to accomplish some great things for this country. But if Lew is committed to playing the same partisan games that have gone on for the better part of the last four years, then we’re going to have serious difficulties getting anything done.
I hope that won’t be the case.
In addition, as my questions during the hearing demonstrated, I believe that Lew has been less than forthcoming about his time at Citigroup and NYU. Indeed, after extensive questioning, we still know very little about these areas of his record. This is problematic and I plan to go into these concerns more fully when the nomination is debated on the floor. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the general lack of responsiveness from the Obama administration to legitimate questions that I and other members of the committee have asked. Sometimes, we get no answers at all, and that is entirely unacceptable, as I have said all too many times from this very spot.
Mr. Chairman, I expect the committee will report the Lew nomination today and, once again, I intend to vote in favor of doing so. However, as I stated, I have significant concerns that I hope will be addressed by greater responsiveness and transparency from the administration.
I hope you will continue to work with me to address these concerns.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”
Statement on opposition to Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense
“I’ve always felt that the president should have the opportunity to serve with the nominees he chooses, but that deference is not limitless. I served with Chuck Hagel in the Senate for many years and appreciate his dedication and service to our country. But the Secretary of Defense is an incredibly important job that carries tremendous responsibilities, and regrettably I have too many reservations about the nominee’s preparedness and ability to oversee the greatest military in the world.
“I hoped my concerns would have been addressed at his confirmation hearing, but unfortunately the hearing raised more questions than answers.
“Additionally, the nominee’s past positions with regards to Hezbollah, Israel, and Iran are not representative of where I believe our country’s top defense official should be.
“Our brave service members are engaged in conflicts overseas, the Defense Department is facing budget cuts, and enemies near and far continue to seek to harm Americans and American interests, and I do not feel that the nominee is the right person to confront these challenges as next Secretary of Defense.”
Submitted by: The Office of Sen. Orrin Hatch