Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to leave his post at the end of the month.
Some Republicans have scoffed at the idea that Lew should be Treasury Secretary. The decision to replace Geithner with Lew could also disappoint critics hoping for dramatic changes in Obama's second term, as HuffPost's Mark Gongloff and Christina Wilkie reported earlier:
Throughout Obama's first term, Geithner has been constantly criticized as looking out for the interests of Wall Street over Main Street, particularly for what some critics say was his opposition to mortgage relief for underwater homeowners out of concern for bank profits. Lew seems likely to be less of a lightning rod than Geithner, who is the protege of bank-deregulator Robert Rubin. Lew is widely seen as a smart, tough negotiator and an able public servant.
But his professed lack of expertise in financial regulation, along with his own tenure at Rubin's old firm, the original too-big-to-fail bank, Citigroup, has raised warning flags among critics. They fear a Lew Treasury might not aggressively push back financial industry efforts to water down the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law or keep an eye out for the next financial crisis.
Despite doubts, Lew has played a vital role in key past Obama negotiations. HuffPost's Sam Stein reported earlier:
White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew has been an unassuming figure during the Obama years. His media appearances are dull; his presentation is a bit bookworm-ish -- as if Harry Potter grew up and replaced his magic wand with Excel spreadsheets. When he speaks, the tone is usually measured and unemotional.
Behind the scenes, however, Lew has proven to be Obama's most skillful consigliere in matters of political trench warfare. Time and again during the debt ceiling debate, as Republicans attempted to get the administration to bend on top domestic priorities, it was Lew who proved to be a stick in the mud. Then serving as Office of Management and Budget Director, his insistence on playing out the practical impact of those cuts irritated Republicans to no end.