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Lew Meets With Republican Senators Before Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew took questions on Social Security and Medicare as he met with some Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee today, seeking their support for his confirmation vote.

“We had a good, thorough discussion,” Senator John Isakson, a Republican from Georgia, told reporters in Washington after the meeting. “Trying to find common ground between spending and revenues and actually solve the problem, we talked about Medicare specifically, and Social Security.”

The Senate Finance Committee has the sole jurisdiction over Treasury Secretary nominees. Lew yesterday met the panel Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, as well as Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York and Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, who also sit on the panel.

Lew told reporters yesterday he was “having good conversations,” with the Democratic senators. He didn’t comment after the meetings today with Isakson and Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the committee.

“We had a constructive conversation that focused on the economic challenges facing our nation and the critical steps that need be taken to get our fiscal house in order,” Hatch said in an e-mailed statement after his meeting. “But as I always say, the devil’s in the details and there’s a lot more of Mr. Lew’s record and qualifications that need to be fully examined.”

Both Hatch and Isakson said they haven’t decided yet whether they will support Lew’s nomination, while Democrats expressed their support.

“Jack Lew has all the qualifications to be an outstanding Treasury Secretary,” Schumer said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “He’s very smart, facile with the numbers and listens carefully to all sides. If you ask me, he should be a shoo-in for confirmation.”

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