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WASHINGTON (AP) - Jacob Lew was sworn in Thursday as the nation's 76th Treasury secretary, one day before across-the-board government spending cuts kick in that could hold back the U.S. economy.

Vice President Joe Biden swore Lew in during a brief ceremony at the Oval Office, with Lew's wife and family and President Barack Obama looking on.

After the ceremony, Lew walked to the Treasury Department and was greeted by employees who lined the steps of the building.

Lew, 57, was White House budget director in both the Obama and Clinton administrations. He is expected to play a leading role in negotiating with Congress over ways to resolve the impasse over spending and tax issues.

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