The full U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jack Lew as the country's new treasury secretary by a vote of 71-26.

Lew, 57, who was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama in January, had served as White House chief of staff since early 2012.

He will replace Timothy Geithner, who had resigned on Jan. 20 after four years at the helm of the department.

There were no surprises in the confirmation vote and Lew was comfortably approved, receiving the support of the Democratic majority in the upper house as well as the votes of almost 20 Republicans.

Lew comes to the Treasury Department at a time of great tension, given that if an agreement is not reached before Friday drastic spending cuts of some $85 billion - known collectively as the sequester - will go into effect, significantly curtailing the services the government can provide.

Upon nominating Lew, Obama emphasized his experience in budgetary matters - having been the president's budget director before becoming chief of staff - and stated that "I trust his judgment. I value his friendship. I know very few people with greater integrity" in Washington.

Lew began developing his talents in Washington as an adviser to then-House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill and during budget negotiations with the administration of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, and he also served in top posts during the presidency of Bill Clinton. EFE