Tags: Barack Obama | Antonio Weiss | undersecretary | test | Treasury

Obama May Have to Fight Own Party for Treasury Nominee

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:09 PM

The Senate parked one highly contentious issue off to the side when it ended its last session, but the Obama administration's nomination of Wall Street banker Antonio Weiss to be undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance is rapidly picking up both supporters and opposition, and may become a crucial test of President Barack Obama's influence within his own party.

Everyone agrees that Weiss, a 20-year veteran of the Wall Street investment firm Lazard, knows his way around banking circles, but the question is: is he too close to Wall Street for comfort?

Leading the opposition to Weiss' nomination is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who lately has picked up support for her position from other leading Democrats, notably Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Al Franken of Minnesota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Politico notes.

"The over-representation of Wall Street banks in senior government positions sends a bad message. It tells people that one — and only one — point of view will dominate economic policymaking," Warren said, the Washington Times reports.

"It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first. That's yet another advantage that Wall Street just doesn't need."

"Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism that we have seen in the executive branch," Warren said in a speech on the Senate floor, Politico noted.

On the other side, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, likely to become head of the Senate Finance Committee now that Republicans have taken control, said, "I'm for Antonio Weiss. Subject to the paperwork, I'm probably going to be for him. I think the president should have whoever he chooses, and this man has a tremendous amount of experience," Bloomberg News reports.

Not all Republicans favor Weiss. Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, one of the 24 Finance Committee members charged with approving or rejecting Weiss, said:

"The president has put forward nominees with offshore accounts, which he lambasted on the campaign trail, and now someone who's been involved in inversion transactions, something he's referred to as unpatriotic."

The administration is not backing down on Weiss. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, "Mr. Weiss has a lot of experience, has knowledge that would be critically important to the successful conduct of the responsibilities of somebody who's going to serve as the undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance."

"That's why we're counting on Congress to take quick action and confirm him in bipartisan fashion," the Washington Times reported.

Weiss also has received support from the four previous secretaries, as well as a host of Wall Street executives who have urged his confirmation.

Politico reports that Warren said, "Wall Street CEOs think Antonio Weiss would do a great job overseeing Wall Street reform. Doesn't that make you feel better?"

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The Senate parked one highly contentious issue off to the side when it ended its last session, but the Obama administration's nomination of Wall Street banker Antonio Weiss to be undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance is rapidly picking up both . . .
Antonio Weiss, undersecretary, test, Treasury
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2015-09-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:09 PM
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