Although his journey was rough, Steven Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs and OneWest executive, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 77th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on Monday evening.
Leading up to the final vote, some Democratic members insinuated that his businesses aided in the financial crisis of 2008 during his Senate Confirmation hearing on January 19. When it came time to vote on January 31, Senate Democrats staged a boycott, which Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called “abysmal.”
“This has never happened before, that we’ve had this kind of treatment of cabinet officials,” Hatch said. “This is the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in my whole time in the United States Senate.”
Ed Delgado, President of The Five Star Institute and former Wells Fargo executive, called Mnuchin a “competent choice” for Treasury Secretary.
“His plans to roll back burdensome regulations and advance GSE reform will help foster progress and growth in the industry and the economy,” Delgado said. “He should not be labeled as the architect behind the 2008 financial crisis. The reality is that Mnuchin’s leadership during his tenure at OneWest defended American homeowners by making available programs that offered loan modifications to eligible borrowers.”
Michael S. Barr—an architect of Dodd-Frank, the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions, and a financial reform expert at the University of Michigan Law School—issued the following statement regarding Steven Mnuchin's role as Treasury Secretary:
“With a new Treasury Secretary in place, the Administration’s focus will now shift to the substance of financial reform. Will they continue to propose gutting consumer and investor protections and removing the guardrails put in place after the financial crisis, or will they actually focus on investing in communities, including real community bank relief? As I argued in a recent Russell Sage Foundation journal on this topic, the Treasury and independent agencies should work to deepen our oversight of shadow banking, reduce reliance on hot money, and strengthen consumer and investor protections. We need to make the financial system safer and fairer, and focus on helping households and businesses, rather than return to the practices that brought us the devastating Financial Crisis of 2008.”
When Mnuchin was nominated by President Trump, he indicated that he would roll back key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 to regulate Wall Street. He also said he would end the governmental conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Mnuchin succeeds Jacob Lew, who served as Treasury Secretary for almost four years before stepping down on January 20. Adam Szubin served as interim Treasury Secretary while awaiting Mnuchin’s confirmation.
(Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for more information.)