Chairman Gramm, Ranking Member Sarbanes, members of this committee, I am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you again, today in connection with my nomination to be Secretary of the Treasury. I am greatly honored by the trust in me that the President has demonstrated by nominating me to follow in the distinguished tradition at Treasury of Lloyd Bentsen and Bob Rubin.
For the past six and a half years, I have served at the Treasury Department. From 1993 until 1995, 1 served under Secretary Bentsen as Under Secretary for International Affairs, where my focus was on international financial issues. For the past 4 years, I have served as Secretary Rubin's deputy. In that capacity I have participated in the formulation of the Administration's economic and budget strategy and worked on Treasury priorities - ranging from debt management, to protecting the nation's borders - as well as continuing to work actively on international issues.
It has been an immense privilege for me to work with President Clinton and the other members of his economic team, with the Federal Reserve, with this Committee and with others in Congress to put in place a core economic strategy for this country. That strategy has been based on macro-economic stability and achieving fiscal discipline. It has been based on making critical public investments, particularly investments in people, in education especially. It has been based on a recognition of America's interest in open markets and stable growth around the world.
Mr. Chairman, while important challenges remain and we in the United States can never afford to be complacent, the strength of the American economy in recent years stands out. Powered by the initiative and enterprise of the American people and our market system we are enjoying the lowest rates of inflation and unemployment in a generation. We have seen the restoration of American economic leadership around the world. And most important of all, for the past several years we have seen the fastest growth in real earnings of American workers in 25 years.
We can all acknowledge the remarkable contribution that Secretary Rubin has made to our economy over the past six and a half years. At Treasury the right course has been set. Our challenge will be to carry on.
If confirmed as Secretary I will focus on five priority objectives:
Mr. Chairman, it has been by privilege both as Under Secretary and as Deputy Secretary to work with this committee on many issues. If confirmed Stu Eizenstat and I look forward to working even more closely with you in the future and with others in Congress on the full range of challenges that we face.
Thank you once again, Mr. Chairman, for bringing me before this committee. Now I would be pleased to respond to any questions that you or members of the Committee may have.
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