WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly divided Senate on Monday confirmed Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary
Republicans said Mnuchin’s long tenure in finance makes him qualified to run the department, which will play a major role in developing economic policy under President Donald Trump.
‘‘He has experience managing large and complicated private-sector enterprises and in negotiating difficult compromises and making tough decisions — and being accountable for those decisions,’’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Finance Committee.
Votes on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks have exposed deep partisan divisions in the Republican-controlled Senate, with many of the nominees approved by mostly party-line votes.
The vote on Mnuchin followed the same pattern. He was confirmed by a mostly party-line vote of 53-47. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined the Republicans.
The Senate also headed toward a vote on a less divisive nominee, physician David Shulkin, to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Like others in Trump’s Cabinet, Mnuchin is a wealthy businessman.
He is a former top executive at Goldman Sachs and served as finance chairman for Trump’s presidential campaign.
As Treasury secretary, Mnuchin is expected to play a key role in Republican efforts to overhaul the nation’s tax code for the first time in three decades.
Trump has promised to unveil a proposal in the coming weeks.
Mnuchin will also be in charge of imposing economic sanctions on foreign governments and individuals, including Russia.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Mnuchin ‘‘is smart, he’s capable, and he’s got impressive private-sector experience.’’
Democrats complained that Mnuchin made much of his fortune by foreclosing on families during the financial crisis.
In 2009, Mnuchin assembled a group of investors to buy the failed IndyMac bank, whose collapse the year before was the second biggest bank failure of the financial crisis. He renamed it OneWest and turned it around, selling it for a handsome profit in 2014.
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