Published: Wed, February 15, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Steven Mnuchin Is Confirmed by Senate to Be Treasury Secretary

Steven Mnuchin Is Confirmed by Senate to Be Treasury Secretary

During his confirmation hearing, Democrats forced Mnuchin to defend his record running OneWest Bank, a mortgage lender accused of shoddy foreclosure practices during the financial crisis and which he later sold for a profit.

But Mnuchin, who joined Trump's campaign as finance chairman in May 2016, has been well-received by Republicans because of his extensive finance experience. Wall Street Journal staffer Nick Timiraos reports that Mnuchin is now in position to advance President Donald Trump's plans to revamp financial regulation and the USA tax code. Mnuchin would be just the 10th Trump Cabinet nominee confirmed in more than three weeks. All Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee boycotted the final vote to bring Mnuchin before the full Senate.

The Senate voted almost along party lines, with only West Virginia's Joe Manchin breaking from his Democratic colleagues, who had previously labeled Mnuchin "greedy" and dubbed him the "foreclosure king".

Mnuchin, however, did not reveal many details of his plans for the Treasury after he was sworn in on Monday.

In a less divisive vote late Monday, the Senate unanimously backed the appointment of David Shulkin to helm the Department of Veteran Affairs.

"Mr. Mnuchin has 30 years of experience working in a variety of capacities in the financial sector", said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican. The vote was unanimous.

Democrats had argued that Mr Mnuchin had made a fortune foreclosing on families during the financial crisis. Mnuchin, known to most Americans as the man who foreclosed on thousands of people's homes in the wake of the crash, also failed to reveal his position as a director of an investment fund here in the Cayman Islands.

"I simply can not forgive somebody who took a look at that banking crisis and took a look at the pain that Wall Street had sent in a wave across all of America, and thought, 'Ah, there's a great new way to make money, foreclosing on people, ' " said Sen. Shulkin, a physician, was deputy VA secretary under President Barack Obama and is the only holdover from that administration.

He secured the backing of Senate Democrats after pledging at his confirmation hearing to always protect veterans' interests, even if it meant disagreeing at times with Trump. He has ruled out privatizing the department or ordering mass staff replacements.

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