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Sessions, nonetheless, railed against Lew on the floor. Sessions, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, said a budget proposal Lew prepared was the “greatest financial misrepresentation” in the country’s history and a “complete fabrication” that is part of a “continued campaign to mislead the American people.”
Sessions said Lew’s budget plan would have added far more to the federal debt than the Obama administration claimed. Sessions sharply criticized his colleagues for supporting Lew’s nomination, saying the public deserves the truth about the nation’s finances.
“He is not entitled to sugar coat it, and he’s absolutely not entitled to totally misrepresent it,” Sessions said, calling Lew’s defense of the discrepancies “utterly unconnected to reality.”
Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he would vote against the nomination in part because Lew “would not commit to any limit on federal spending.”
In recent days, Republicans opposing Lew have pointed out reports from The New York Times that Lew received an unusual and undisclosed $685,000 severance payment when he left NYU in 2006 to take a job at Citigroup.
Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, has questioned large loans Lew received from the university, and he maintains that Lew and the Obama administration have not made an effort to be transparent in responding to requests for information.
Baucus said Tuesday that those reports should not affect Lew’s confirmation, adding that NYU “can do whatever it wants to do.”
Alan K. Ota contributed to this story.