With the voting on Defense Secretary nomineealready postponed, Republican Senator is preparing to block President Barack Obama’s pick for another top slot, Jack Lew as treasury secretary.
“To confirm Mr. Lew would be to acquiesce in a policy of dishonesty to the American people,” Sessions said on Thursday. "For me, no mea culpa, no excuse, can erase the errors of Mr. Lew.”
Sessions statement comes as surprise to many, since Obama had long indicated that Lew would be replacing outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Now, as Lew prepares for his confirmation hearing before the Senate on Wednesday, Sessions becomes the first senator to vow his opposition to Obama’s pick.
Highlighting what Sessions believes to be an “outrageous and false” testimony by Lew before the Senate two years back, the senator said that Lew should be outright disqualified from becoming the treasury secretary.
“To look the American people in the eye and make such a statement remains the most direct and important false assertion during my entire time in Washington,” Sessions said. “We need a secretary of treasury that the American people, the Congress, and the world will know is up to the task of getting America on the path to prosperity, not the path to decline. Jack Lew is not that man.”
Sessions said that in order to consider Lew as a possible candidate for such an important position in Obama’s cabinet, the Congress must first take a thorough look at the documents pertaining to his role in the violation of 2003 Medicare modernization law, as well as a strong legislative proposal that would bring the administration into legal compliance. Sessions, who is one of the leading Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee, said that if this is not done, it would become very difficult for Lew’s nomination to move forward.
Immediately responding to Sessions’ statement, Obama on Friday, called for the Senate to confirm Lew as quickly as possible.
“Jack has my complete trust,” Obama said recently. “In the words of one former senator, having Lew on your team is the equivalent, as a coach, of having the luxury of putting somebody in almost any position and knowing he will do well. And I could not agree more.”
Though the Senate is led by the Democrats 53-45, Lew would still need 60 votes to win confirmation, and therefore he must have at least some Republican support on his side.