Following the Senate Finance Committee approval of nomination by a vote of 11-0 (where all Democrats boycotted the vote), Steven Mnuchin was confirmed as Treasury Secretary with a near party line vote of 53-47 on February 13, 2017. All Republicans voted in favor of his confirmation stating that Mnuchin has the experience, credentials and qualifications to fill the position. Mnuchin’s former roles include executive of Goldman Sachs, CEO and chairman of OneWest Bank (formerly failed mortgage lender IndyMac), and national finance chairman for Trump’s presidential campaign.
During the Senate confirmation hearing, Mnuchin was criticized for his role in running OneWest which had foreclosed on tens of thousands of homes during the mortgage crisis and for failing to disclose almost $100 million of real estate. Democrats raised concerns that he would not represent the financial interest of ordinary U.S. citizens. Mnuchin supporters countered that the OneWest foreclosures were largely in accordance with federal guidelines. Mnuchin himself stated that he had “been maligned as taking advantage of others’ hardships in order to earn a buck” and that “nothing could be further from the truth.”
While the new Treasury Secretary has provided little details of his plans for his new role, Mnuchin is expected to follow the Trump administration’s pledge for financial regulatory reform under the Dodd-Frank reform law (Mnuchin has called for a 21st century Glass-Steagall), tax reform including reducing business tax rates, and pursuing tougher trade policies to reduce U.S. trade deficits. He is due to report to Congress in April on whether foreign countries, such as China, are manipulating their currencies. After swearing in, Mnuchin stated that he is “committed to using the full powers of the office to create more jobs, to combat terrorist activities and financing, and to make America great again."