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Hatch backs Obama Treasury nominee, but with reservations

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FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, file photo, Jack Lew President Barack Obama's choice to be Treasury secretary, center, talks with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici. The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, approved President Barack Obama's choice of Lew to be Treasury secretary and sent the nomination to the full Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

By Thomas Burr

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Feb 26 2013 01:19PM
Updated Feb 26, 2013 08:55PM

Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, voted to advance President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the Treasury Department but didn’t give Jack Lew the most ringing endorsement.

Hatch voted with five Republicans to move Lew’s nomination to the full Senate, though the Utah Republican says the White House and the nominee weren’t forthcoming on several questions and didn’t signal great interest in reforming entitlement programs or taxes.

Hatch says he hopes Lew isn’t an Obama "acolyte" and ends up willing to work with Republicans and putting the nation first in confronting challenges.

"If Mr. Lew is that kind of Treasury secretary, then I think we can work together to accomplish some great things for this country," Hatch said in a statement. "But if Mr. Lew is committed to playing the same partisan games that have gone on for the better part of the last four years, then we’re going to have serious difficulties getting anything done. I hope that won’t be the case."

Hatch added that he still wants to know more about Lew’s time as a Citigroup executive and his past agreement with New York University.

The final vote was 19 for Lew’s nomination and five — all Republicans — against it.

tburr@sltrib.com

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