President Obama plans to nominate White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew as his next Treasury secretary, choosing a trusted adviser with deep experience in the nation’s budget challenges and in the legislative warfare that will test Obama’s second term, according to people familiar with the matter.
The selection of Lew, 57, is an acknowledgment that at least the next several months will involve a sustained conflict with congressional Republicans over the nation’s finances. The government is likely to face a deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling no later than March 1 — as well as a series of deep and automatic spending cuts set to begin around the same time.
Lew’s appointment signals continuity between Obama’s first and second term and suggests that the president would not be taking a significantly different approach to governing. Lew has served as Obama’s budget director and the No. 2 State Department official. He also was budget director during the Clinton administration and has been negotiating compromises over taxes and spending since the 1980s, when he was a top aide to then-House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.).
Lew’s appointment would finally allow Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to depart — something he has wanted to do for over a year. Geithner, the president’s longest-serving economic adviser, stayed on after a personal plea from the president.
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