WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama is expected on Thursday to nominate his current chief of staff, Jack Lew, to be treasury secretary.
Lew, the first Orthodox Jew to serve as White House chief of staff, has long been expected to be offered the job.
A former two-time director of the Office of Management and Budget, Lew has already participated in many of the tense fiscal negotiations with Republican leaders that are set to continue in Obama’s second term.
Lew, who does not work on Shabbat, has close ties with Jewish leaders in Washington and campaigned for Obama among the Jewish community during the 2012 campaign.
Lew told The Jerusalem Post in the final days of the campaign that from his perspective, “The United States and Israel have never had a closer relationship working day to day on matters of national security at every level.”
If confirmed by the US Senate, Lew would replace current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has said that he intends to step down by the end of the month. Lew, who has held other positions requiring Senate approval, is expected to win confirmation from the Democratic-majority body despite having rankled some Republicans in earlier negotiations.
In what is likely to be one of his last meetings with a foreign counterpart, Geithner hosted Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz this week in Washington. The two men agreed to create a bilateral forum to review the impact of sanctions on Iran and how to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Steinitz stressed to Geithner that Israel believes additional sanctions are needed alongside a serious military threat to convince Iran to stop its nuclear activities.
JTA contributed to this report.
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