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Up Next: Congress Tackles Lew & Charitable Deductions

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As things heat up on the Hill next week, there are a few hearings financial advisors should keep an eye on. First up, the Senate Finance Committee will get a chance to question Jack Lew on his nomination for Treasury Secretary on Wednesday.  Then on Thursday the House Ways and Means committee will explore the impact of proposals to cut tax benefits for charitable contributions.

Next week the Senate’s Finance Committee will have a chance to grill Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew during a 10 a.m. hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 13.

“We need a better understanding of his role at Citigroup, what his knowledge is of financial markets, whether he supports reforming our tax code, whether he believes in a robust trade policy and what kind of plan the Obama Administration has to confront our skyrocketing debt and our broken entitlement programs,” ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement Wednesday. 

Hatch said he would wait to see if Lew answered these questions before making a decision on whether or not to support the nomination. “Lest no one forget, Treasury Secretary is no small position and the people of this country need to know Mr. Lew is qualified and able to perform the job given the economic challenges we face,” Hatch said.

In addition to his controversial role as chief operating officer at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008, Republicans also point out that Lew served as director of White House budget office during periods of Medicare budget imbalances that were never addressed by the administration, as required by law.

Republications—including Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions—sent a letter to President Obama’s White House budget director Jeffrey Zients on Monday asking for any documents Lew authored regarding the Medicare budget imbalances.

Meanwhile, the House will also be busy next week as the Committee on Ways and Means tackles a hearing on tax reform and charitable contributions on Thursday, Feb. 14.

Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) says the hearing will focus on itemized deduction for charitable contributions, specifically the potential impact that recent proposals to limit the deduction for charitable contributions could have on charities and non-profit organizations.

“Because of the critical role that charities play, the committee must hear directly from the charitable community before considering any proposals as part of comprehensive tax reform that might impact their ability to obtain the resources they need to fulfill their missions,” Camp said in a statement.  

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