Senate Finance Committee OKs Paulson for Treasury Secretary

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved the nomination of Henry Paulson to be the country's next treasury secretary.

Paulson, a 32-year Wall Street veteran, is the chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., a financial powerhouse. The committee, on a voice vote, sent the nomination of Paulson to the full Senate, where approval is soon expected.

During a nearly three-hour hearing on his nomination on Tuesday, Paulson, 60, hewed closely to the Bush administration's stance on a wide range of economic policies.

For instance, although he thought it was wise to trim the federal budget deficit, he said it would be a mistake to raise taxes to help fix the problem. He also said that he would focus on prodding China to revamp its currency policy, a practice critics blame for contributing to the United States' record-high trade deficit and to the loss of U.S. factory jobs.

Paulson also said he wanted to pursue efforts to crack down on abusive tax shelters, work on ways to collect billions in taxes owed to the U.S. government, and explore ways to simplify the tax code. He also promised to review a once-secret Treasury program that gave the government access to a data base of international banking information to catch suspected terrorist financiers.

If confirmed as expected, Paulson would be President Bush's third treasury secretary and would succeed John Snow, who has held the post since February 2003.