- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2009


The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Timothy Geithner as secretary of the Treasury on an 18-5 vote, despite lingering doubts from Republicans on the panel over irregularities in the nominee’s tax records.

Mr. Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve’s New York regional bank, is expected to win quick confirmation by the full Senate, with lawmakers from both parties saying the critical Treasury post should not be left vacant as the nation confronts a severe financial crisis and a deepening recession.

At a lengthy hearing Wednesday, Mr. Geithner apologized repeatedly for what he called “unintentional” lapses in his tax filings, including faillng to pay promptly self-employment taxes he owed while working for the International Monetary Fund earlier in the decade. He repaid some of his tax obligations after being picked by President Obama for the Treasury post.

“I don’t believe that the requisite candor exists for me to indicate my support for him with an affirmative vote,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, who earlier had called Mr. Geithner’s explanations for his oversights “implausible.”

All five of the “no” votes came from panel Republicans, but there was no immediate indication as to which committee members they were. A committee aide told The Washington Times that the deliberations lasted about 90 minutes before the committee voted.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, said the crisis facing the nation demanded quick action on the nominee.

“Let us come together to support a nominee who has the leadership to transcend the distinct obstacles facing our nation in these troubled times,” he said.

As head of the Federal Reserve’s most influential regional bank, Mr. Geithner has played a critical behind-the-scenes role in formulating the Bush administration’s response to the global credit meltdown and the $700 billion Wall Street bailout program approved by Congress last fall.

Richard C. Gross contributed to this article.

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