Hatch Mounts Aggressive Defense of Geithner

Posted January 14, 2009 at 5:46pm

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) came out Wednesday with his strongest words yet in support of Treasury secretary appointee Timothy Geithner, going far enough to call on his Republican Senate colleagues to overlook the nominee’s tax filing misstep and confirm him. “They’re never going to get anybody better than [Geithner] from this administration to head the Treasury,” said Hatch, who sits on the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Treasury nomination. “I think it’s more important to have somebody who has that ability to do it right in an apolitical, nonpartisan way that will help get our country out of this mess, than to worry about the fact that he made a mistake.” Geithner appeared poised for a smooth confirmation just days ago, but revelations Tuesday that he once owed nearly $40,000 in unclaimed taxes, and once employed an immigrant housekeeper whose papers had expired struck concern throughout the Senate chamber. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), both members of the Finance Committee, objected to holding a Friday hearing on Geithner’s confirmation, claiming they wanted more time to look into the matter. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) remained confident that Geithner would be confirmed. The nominee, the first Cabinet secretary pick made by President-elect Barack Obama, is now slated to appear before the committee on Jan. 21.