Mnuchin, Shulkin confirmed by Senate as treasury, VA chiefs

By Doug G. Ware
Mnuchin, Shulkin confirmed by Senate as treasury, VA chiefs
President Donald Trump looks over the shoulder of Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin as he is sworn in during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Mnuchin was confirmed by the Senate 53-47 earlier today. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Two of President Donald Trump's Cabinet appointees received full Senate confirmation late Monday -- one in a landslide, and the other by two votes.

The Senate narrowly confirmedSteven T. Mnuchin as the 77th U.S. treasury chief with a vote of 53-47. Vice President Mike Pence gave him the oath of office Monday night.


With 100 members in the Senate, 51 votes are needed for confirmation. The only Democrat to vote for Mnuchin was West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

A former Wall Street manager and Hollywood film financier, Mnuchin was opposed by some Democrats and heavily questioned by the Senate Finance Committee last month over his buying a mortgage lender from the federal government that some critics say was a "foreclosure machine."

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During the financial crisis in 2009, Mnuchin bought subprime lender IndyMac from the government and turned it into a bank that modified tens of thousands of troubled home loans -- and foreclosed on many properties. The venture was highly profitable.


"It has been said that I ran a 'foreclosure machine.' This is not true," he told the panel. "On the contrary, I was committed to loan modifications intended to stop foreclosures. I ran a 'loan modification machine.'"

A billionaire, Mnuchin was also questioned about potential tax shelters he ran in the Caribbean -- an allegation the treasury appointee denied.

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Like Trump's last four nominees -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (confirmed by a vote of 56-43), Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (51-50), Attorney General Jeff Sessions (52-47), and Health Secretary Tom Price (52-47) -- Mnuchin was narrowly approved along party lines.

Mnuchin takes over the Treasury from Jack Lew, who served under former President Barack Obama for four years.

A short time later, Dr. David J. Shulkin was easily approved -- by a unanimous vote of 100-0 -- as the 9th U.S. secretary of Veterans Affairs.

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Shulkin will take his oath Tuesday afternoon, the White House said.

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