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How Badly Undermanned Is Treasury?

Ben Smith spots something in Paul Volcker's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee today that I've heard from people in contact with administration officials:

"There is an area that I think is, I don't know, shameful is the word," Paul Volcker said this morning at a Joint Economic Committee hearing. "The secretary of the treasury is sitting there without a deputy, without any undersecretaries, without any, as far as I know, assistant secretaries responsible in substantive areas at a time of very severe crisis. He shouldn't be sitting there alone."

My understanding is that Volcker's characterization is somewhat overstated--there are a number of key aides already in the building. But there are real holdups, which is obviously a concern in a crisis situation. I'm told part of the delay is the extra scrutiny being applied to nominees in the aftermath of the Geithner-Killefer-Daschle tax imbroglios. If you're interested, The Wall Street Journal's Deborah Solomon actually had a good story on this over the weekend, though she was also a bit more pessimistic than I've heard is justified.

--Noam Scheiber