Obama gives team Republican touch

Former Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: If you think might ever be chosen to run the US Treasury Department, might I suggest paying all your taxes. Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary choice, Timothy Geithner, will be explaining to senators this week how he failed to pay $34,000 of self-employment taxes to the IRS several years ago.

Meanwhile, Obama's pick for Transportation Secretary may get some real scrutiny. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.


Sam Eaton: Obama's nomination to head the $70 billion Transportation Department is one of the few Republicans invited to be part of his team. Former Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood will oversee Obama's plans to rebuild the nation's infrastructure and curb transportation's contribution to global warming.

His experience in transportation issues may be lacking, but Robert Puentes with the nonprofit Brookings Institution says that may be an asset:

Robert Puentes: We know that there aren't really transportation-only solutions to transportation challenges, so you do want somebody who has a broad perspective on these issues.

He says transportation touches on just about every issue, from energy to housing to economic growth. And this is where LaHood's bipartisan record may come in handy.

Puentes says the Transportation Department LaHood is inheriting is still largely focused on building highways. And changing that mission isn't going to happen without solid backing from Democrats and Republicans.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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