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Republicans Question Whether Treasury Nominee Lew Broke Federal Law
Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew is coming under fire from Senate Republicans who question whether he violated federal law by declining to respond to dire warnings from the group that oversees Medicare.
Eight Senate Republicans voiced their complaints in a letter Monday to the White House budget office, which Lew ran before being promoted to President Obama's chief of staff.
The criticism comes as the president's most controversial Cabinet nominees line up for confirmation hearings before Congress.
Chuck Hagel, the nominee for Defense secretary, endured a grilling on Capitol Hill last week. Lew, and also CIA director nominee John Brennan, are likely to face a similarly rough time.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee who has led the charge against Lew's nomination, co-authored the letter Monday. At issue is a section of the federal law which states the president is supposed to submit legislation to respond to Medicare "funding warnings."
"The administration has failed each of the last four years to respond to these funding warnings despite receiving several communications from Congress urging them to comply with this unambiguous legal requirement," the senators wrote in their letter Monday.
Noting that Lew served as budget director "during this period of non-compliance," the lawmakers asked for documentation on his role in response to those warnings. The senators also noted that Lew, if confirmed at Treasury, would be installed as chairman of the Board of Medicare Trustees.
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