Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Snow Approval on Fast Track; OK Seen This Week as Treasury Boss

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Snow Approval on Fast Track; OK Seen This Week as Treasury Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher Calnan, Times-Union staff writer

WASHINGTON -- Questioned more about President Bush's plan to stimulate the nation's sluggish economy than his own qualifications, Treasury secretary nominee John Snow yesterday said he was open to discussing the $674 billion stimulus program as he gets more acquainted with it.

"I understand that public policy issues are complex and that people can have legitimate differences," Snow told the Senate Finance Committee during his confirmation hearing. "It is my hope that we can conduct the public debate on the growth package, and taxes in general, with a high level of constructive discourse and also with mutual respect."

Snow, chairman of the parent company of Jacksonville's CSX Transportation, faced tough questions about Bush's plan during his four-hour hearing. But committee members from both parties praised his experience in education, private industry and public service and said he was an ideal choice to steer the nation out of recession.

Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, predicted Snow would win quick confirmation, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. The 21-member Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote to approve the appointment today.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Snow's resume provided interesting reading and that Snow was "overqualified educationally" for the position. Snow has a Ph.D. in economics and a law degree from George Washington University.

The 63-year-old chief executive officer of Richmond, Va.,-based CSX Corp. was nominated by Bush last month.

Some Finance Committee members grilled Snow on the fairness and potential effectiveness of Bush's plan to turn around the slumping economy.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., told Snow he wants Bush's stimulus package to be more short-term rather than spread out over coming years and offer economic help to the states. Also, the plan's tax-cutting portion would exacerbate the national deficit, Baucus said.

"That worries me, Mr. Snow. I hope it worries you," he said.

Grassley questioned Snow about his CSX compensation package and the $25 million to $50 million in CSX stock options Snow would forfeit if appointed. …

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