Jacob J. Lew
Secretary of the Treasury
Former White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources under President Obama, Jacob J. Lew was appointed the 76th Secretary of the Treasury in early 2013. He took office as the U.S. economy was struggling to regain its footing after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Secretary Lew helped lead the U.S. economy to a solid foundation of economic growth and declining unemployment. The U.S. economy faced many of its greatest threats overseas as it regained its balance, and Lew focused on fostering pro-growth policies globally, mitigating downside risks to the U.S. economy.
Secretary Lew enhanced U.S. financial stability by managing a complicated web of regulatory agencies to complete nearly all of the regulations in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the most far-reaching financial reforms since the Great Depression. He also upheld the creditworthiness of the United States while guiding the economy through a government shutdown and debt limit crisis. When Puerto Rico faced a fiscal and economic crisis, Secretary Lew achieved congressional action to provide powerful restructuring tools paired with independent oversight to ensure fiscal reforms.
Under Secretary Lew’s leadership, Congress made permanent the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, which help lift millions of working American families out of poverty. The Treasury Department also made significant bipartisan progress with Congress to lay the groundwork toward reforming our country’s broken business tax system. When agreement could not be reached, Secretary Lew used Treasury’s administrative authorities to address some of the more egregious abuses of our tax system, such as corporate inversions.
Globally, Secretary Lew reinforced and strategically exercised U.S. economic leadership, making the case that it is vital to American workers and families, and U.S. foreign policy objectives. He outlined and implemented a vision for deploying sanctions in a targeted and judicious manner and in collaboration with international counterparts. He directed the development of the most sophisticated and targeted sanctions in the world, which brought Iran to the negotiating table, and exerted significant economic pressure on the Russian economy. Additionally, Secretary Lew’s engagement with and pressure on China resulted in tough multilateral sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear tests.
He advanced and deepened the U.S.-China economic relationship, helping to level the playing field for American workers and businesses by securing agreements to enhance China’s commitment to move toward a more market determined exchange rate; promote non-discriminatory trade and investment measures; and improve economic transparency.
Secretary Lew led the successful effort to secure the 2015 approval of a set of important reforms to the International Monetary Fund. The reforms doubled the organization’s financial resources to combat financial crises and modernized its governance by increasing the voting shares of emerging-market economies, while maintaining a decisive U.S. voice. And he led a process to redesign our currency to reflect the diversity of our great nation.
Secretary Lew’s tenure as Treasury Secretary capped 25 years of public service, focused on helping middle class families; driving sound, equitable policy outcomes; and protecting America’s interests at home and abroad. He served in multiple roles in President Bill Clinton’s administration, culminating as Director of the Office of Management and Budget early in his career. Secretary Lew served as principal domestic policy advisor to House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., and, prior to the Obama administration, he had senior roles in the private sector and academia at Citigroup and New York University.