Geithner Confirmation Still On Track

(AP Photo/Ian Barrett)
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus has scheduled a confirmation hearing for President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, for next Wednesday, January 21st.

Baucus wanted to hold the hearing this Friday, January 16th, but Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and Jim Bunning opposed holding the hearing on that date, according to the Washington Post. If they lift their objections, Baucus will try to hold the hearing Friday.

Democrats had hoped to have Geithner sworn in by January 20th, Inauguration day, so that he could immediately begin leading the effort to address the economic crisis under the new Obama administration.

Geithner's confirmation has come into question following revelations that he failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and employed a housekeeper who lacked proper documents for the last three months of her employment.

The Obama team dismissed Geithner's errors as "honest mistakes," however, and pushed hard to keep the nomination on track. Their efforts appear to have been effective: Democrats and even some Republicans appear poised to back Geithner despite the revelations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is "not concerned at all" about Geithner's confirmation, and Baucus called it a "given." Sen. Charles Schumer, meanwhile, just held a press conference strongly defending Geithner and arguing that while there is a bipartisan belief that he made mistakes, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York president's knowledge and experience are needed during tough times.

As for the Republicans on the committee, they are sending signals that they will back Geithner. Orrin Hatch said he "still support[s] him," while John Ensign told the Associated Press, "I don't think I see enough in there to cause a problem." Pat Roberts also said he was likely to support Geithner.

UPDATE, 2:44 p.m. EST: Mr. Obama expressed his support for Geithner in an afternoon statement.

"My expectation is that Tim Geithner will be confirmed," Mr. Obama said.

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