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  Senate Objections to Geithner
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ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Jan 28, 2009 12:34am
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News DateWednesday, January 28, 2009 05:40:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionBefore we let the matter of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's confirmation by the Senate pass, it should be noted that the objections to nomination of Wall Street's candidate to manage the economy did not come merely from conservative Republicans who wanted to take a poke at President Obama.

In fact, while a number of top Republicans -- led by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch -- provided essential votes in favor of Geithner, three progressive (or, at the least, populist) Democrats and one progressive independent voted against confirming Obama's nominee to serve as the new administration's pointman on economic issues.

The final vote to confirm Geithner was a reasonably solid 60 in favor, 34 against.

Of the 60 pro-Geithner votes, 49 came from Democrats, 10 from Republicans and one from Independent-Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Of the 34 anti-Geithner votes, 30 came from Republicans, three from Democrats (West Virginia's Robert Byrd, Wisconsin's Russ Feingold and Iowa's Tom Harkin) and one from Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders.

Byrd and Harkin joined Republicans in fretting about Geithner's failure to pay $34,023 in self-employment taxes from 2001 to 2004 when he worked at the International Monetary Fund. The nominee has said that it was an unintentional error. But Byrd said, "Had he not been nominated for treasury secretary, it's doubtful that he would have ever paid these taxes." Contrasting the nominees much-vaunted "financial sophistication" with the fact that he failed to pay his taxes even when errors were pointed out to him, Harkin wondered: "How can Mr. Geithner speak with any credibility or authority?"

It is notable, however, that Feingold and Sanders have been ardent critics of the Greenspan-Bernanke-Paulson-Geithner approach of favoring Wall Street over Main Street in economic debates.
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