Raskin Says Treasury Agenda Aims to Make U.S. Growth ‘Durable’

Sarah Bloom Raskin, nominated to become first female U.S. deputy Treasury secretary, said the department’s work on housing finance and financial regulation will help underpin the country’s long-term economic prospects.

“We have the chance to make important long-term and durable progress for the country,” Raskin said in prepared remarks for a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington today. “The government does not create wealth and prosperity and innovation in our economy, but it does create the conditions in which our people and businesses can, and therefore its role is central and indispensable.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Raskin would become the highest-ranking woman in the history of the department. She would join the Treasury during the final stage of implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and ahead of a looming budget and debt ceiling battle. The previous deadlock led to a 16-day partial government shutdown and brought the U.S. closer than a day from exhausting its borrowing authority.

Raskin, a Federal Reserve governor, also mentioned sanctions, trade agreements, and tax and entitlements as areas where improvements can benefit the economy.

Raskin, 52, was Maryland’s top financial regulator from 2007 to 2010. Prior to that, she was a managing director at Promontory Financial Group LLC, which advises banks. She started at the Fed in October 2010, filling a term that expires in January 2016.

Volcker Rule

During her tenure at the central bank, she advocated for a strong Volcker rule, to ensure the ban on proprietary trading doesn’t leave room for abuse. The Treasury, which coordinates efforts of five U.S. regulatory agencies writing the regulations, expects the rule to be published by the end of the year, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said yesterday.

The role of the deputy Treasury secretary has varied. Lawrence Summers, as deputy secretary in the late 1990s, was instrumental in the U.S. response to the economic crises in Asia and Latin America, and used the job as a springboard to the Treasury secretary job.

Mary Miller is the acting deputy Treasury secretary after Neal Wolin left at the beginning of September. Wolin was a key negotiator with Congress on Dodd-Frank. Regulators are implementing the law, and the Treasury is coordinating that work among agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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