Jack Lew

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Jack Lew
Jack Lew.jpg
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
In office
February 28, 2013-Present
Elections and appointments
NominatedJanuary 10, 2013
ConfirmedFebruary 27, 2013
AppointedFebruary 28, 2013
Appointed byBarack Obama
Prior offices
White House Chief of Staff
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
High schoolForest Hills High School
Bachelor'sHarvard University
J.D.Georgetown University
Date of birthAugust 29, 1955
Place of birthNew York City
ReligionOrthodox Judaism
Office website
Jacob Joseph "Jack" Lew (b. August 29, 1955, in New York, New York) is the current United States Secretary of the Treasury. Lew was sworn into office by Vice President Joe Biden on February 28, 2013.[1] The Senate voted to confirm Lew by a vote of 71-26 with 25 of the dissenting votes cast by Republicans and one from Bernie Sanders (I-VT).[2]

Lew began his political career as a legislative aide in 1973, and throughout his career, Lew served stints in the Office of Management and Budget, State Department and on the White House staff.[3]


Lew grew up in Queens, New York, and attended Forest Hills High School. He attended Carleton College for a year until he transferred to and graduated from Harvard University. Lew then finished his schooling by earning a law degree from Georgetown University.[4] He is notoriously guarded when it comes to his personal life and commutes to Washington, D.C. from the Bronx.[5]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Lew's academic, professional and political career:[3][4][6][7][8][9]

  • 1974-1975: Aide to Representative Joe Moakley
  • 1978: Graduated from Harvard University
  • 1983: Earned law degree from Georgetown University Law Center
  • 1979-1987: Principal domestic policy advisor to House Speaker Thomas O'Neill
  • 1987-1991: Partner at law firm of Van Ness, Feldman & Curtis
  • 1992-1993: Executive Director for Center for Middle East Research
  • 1993-1994: Special Assistant to President Clinton
  • 1994-1995: Executive Associate Director and Associate Director for Legislative Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget
  • 1995-1998: Deputy Director for the Office of Management and Budget
  • 1998-2001: Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • 2001-2006: Executive Vice President of New York University
  • 2006-2008: Chief Operating Officer of Citi Alternative Investments
  • 2008-2010: Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
  • 2010-2012: Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • 2012-2013: White House Chief of Staff
  • 2013-Present: United States Secretary of the Treasury

Confirmation vote

Lew was confirmed as the United States Secretary of the Treasury on February 27, 2013, by a vote of 71-26. Senate Republicans cast 25 of the dissenting votes while the final dissenting vote was cast by Bernie Sanders (I-VT).[10]

Jack Lew confirmation vote, February 27, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 50 0 50
Republican Party Republicans 20 25 45
Independent Independents 1 1 2
Total Votes 71 26 97


Debt limit

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

On September 26, 2013, Lew stated in a letter to Rep. John Boehner that the debt limit would need to be raised by October 16 or the government would enter into default on its obligations. If an agreement was not made by October 1, the government would shut down. When the issue arose in 2011, President Obama agreed to a $900 billion spending cut and sequestration, but he didn't intend to accept a similar deal this time around.[11]

On February 3, 2014, Lew again suggested that come the end of February 2014, "very soon it would not be possible to meet all of the obligations of the federal government," if the debt limit was not raised. The debt limit of 16.7 trillion was suspended in October 2013 by Congress and the administration but was reinstated on February 7, 2014. Lew suggested creative accounting could hold off default until the end of February.[12]

Iran sanctions

Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry scheduled a briefing with the Senate Banking Committee over nuclear talks with Iran, as the Senate considered new sanctions. Kerry and Lew arranged to testify on behalf of the Obama administration in order to push for the ability to waive sanctions depending on nuclear talks. The House passed a version of the bill with stronger sanctions in July.[13]


Lew's signature, seemingly a series of connected loops, was overhauled in April 2013 to more closely resemble his name for use on currency notes in order for them to be legal tender. Upon his nomination to the position of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, President Obama poked fun at Lew's old signature.[14]


Department budget

U.S. Department of the Treasury[15] Annual Budget
YearBudget (in billions)% Difference from previous year
  • Note: 2014 only represents the Department's budget request, not an enacted budget.


Lew is married with two grown children.[4]

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External links


Political offices
Preceded by
Timothy Geithner
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William Daley
White House Chief of Staff
Succeeded by
Dennis McDonough
Preceded by
Peter Orszag
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Preceded by
Franklin D. Raines
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Mitch Daniels