Timothy Geithner sworn in as U.S. Treasury secretary

timothy geithner treasury secretary

New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner was sworn in Monday night by Vice President Joe Biden to become U.S. Treasury secretary.

Geithner vowed to act quickly to protect the U.S. economy from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

After two hours of debate, the Senate voted 60-34 in favor of Geithner. Majority of the dissent came from Republicans, but three Democrats broke with their party to vote against Geithner.

Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa voted against him.

“He’s seen the crisis unfold,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said during the debate. “He’s uniquely suited to know the difference between what has worked and what has failed.”

The 60-34 vote speaks to the contentious nature of Mr. Geithner’s nomination after revelations that he failed to pay some employment taxes on time while working for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Senate opponents argued Geithner should not be an exception to a rule that has seen IRS workers fired over unpaid dues.

Geithner will work on a massive overhaul of the $700 billion U.S. financial rescue program and is expected to propose new efforts to clear frozen credit markets within the next two weeks.