WASHINGTON -- With a strong bipartisan majority, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jack Lew, President Barack Obama's nominee to be Treasury secretary.
Lew, formerly Obama's chief of staff, was confirmed late Wednesday in a 71-26 vote, with 20 Republicans voting for him.
Lew, an observant Jew from New York, also has served twice -- under Presidents Clinton and Obama -- as chief of the Office of Management and Budget and, under Obama, as a deputy secretary of state.
Lew faced questions over a $685,000 severance payment he got when he resigned as executive vice president of New York University, and also met some resistance from Republicans who said Lew, as OMB chief, was too closely identified with the current impasse over passing a budget.
Nonetheless, his solid majority was in contrast to Chuck Hagel, Obama's Defense Secretary nominee, who garnered the support of just four Republicans and was approved earlier in the week by a majority of 58.