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Full Committee Markup of Treasury Secretary Nominee Timothy Geithner

 

Senate Finance Committee

 

Senator Michael B. Enzi

 

January 22, 2009

 

Mr. Chairman, as a new member of this Committee, I appreciate the welcome I have received from Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Grassley and my other fellow committee colleagues.  I am an accountant by trade and look forward to working on positive, pro-growth changes to our tax policy can help bring recovery to our nation’s economy and discipline to our federal budget.  The legislation that goes through the Finance Committee affects more people than many realize.  Our work directly affects people’s wallets and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve. 

 

Thank you for allowing me to comment on Mr. Geithner’s nomination to be the United States Treasury Secretary. I stayed up late last night to watch yesterday’s hearing.  I have serious concerns about Mr. Geithner and I am not convinced he is the right man for the job at hand today.   

 

As Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, Mr. Geithner helped to orchestrate major bailouts for Bear Stearns, AIG, Citigroup, and others.  I remain apprehensive about supporting the nomination of someone who puts shareholder interests above the needs of hardworking taxpayers. 

 

Mr. Geithner has yet to provide specifics on his possible plans to use the remaining $350 billion in TARP funding.  His testimony before this committee yesterday displayed the same urgency and strong language as former Secretary Paulson’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in September.  Soon after however, we saw that money spent in ways unaccountable to and unintended by the United States Senate and the American taxpayer.  Measurable goals and clear direction are absolutely required and should be executed if American taxpayers are to fully understand how and why their money is being spent to assist failing banks and companies.  So far, Mr. Geithner has provided neither.  I have not and will not support massive government intervention to rescue private industry.

 

I believe Mr. Geithner’s gross oversight in paying $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes is inexcusable, especially for an individual being considered as our country’s next Treasury Secretary.  As one of my colleagues already noted, “How do I explain to my constituents that I voted to confirm someone who will make them pay taxes, but sometimes does not pay his own taxes?”  This negligent behavior of delinquent tax payments deserves more than a simple slap on the wrist or half-hearted apology before a Senate committee. 

 

In previous years, nominees for positions that do not oversee tax reporting and collection have been forced to withdraw their nomination.  I cannot believe the vetting process did not find these tax errors.  I cannot even believe we are voting on this nomination today.

 

For these reasons, I intend to vote against the nomination of Mr. Timothy Geithner as the United States Treasury Secretary. Thank you, Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Grassley.