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Congress: Geithner's confirmed

"The Senate confirmed Timothy Geithner as President Barack Obama's Treasury secretary by a 60-34 vote, paving the way for the new administration to usher in its financial-rescue plan," the Wall Street Journal writes. "With Mr. Geithner now officially on board, the Obama administration is expected to detail shortly efforts to shore up the financial sector. In his first move, the Treasury Secretary is expected Tuesday to announce new rules intended to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests in determining who gets aid from the government. The new efforts, part of Mr. Obama's plan to revamp the financial bailout, are aimed at ensuring that investment decisions are based on what is best for the stability of the financial system, rather than on any type of political influence."

The Washington Post: "Despite their misgivings about his failure to pay nearly $43,000 in taxes on time, senators endorsed Geithner as the best candidate to lead the government's response to the financial crisis. But the 60-to-34 vote was relatively close for a cabinet confirmation, reflecting the controversy that dogged his nomination."

NBC's Ken Strickland breaks down the 60-34 vote on Geithner. Four Dems voted against his confirmation: Byrd, Feingold, Harkin, Sanders. (Note: Sanders is an independent, but a member of the Dem caucus.) Meanwhile, 10 Republicans voted for him: Corker, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Graham, Gregg, Hatch, Shelby, Snowe, Voinovich. Senators not voting: Bond, Brown, Kennedy, Wyden. 

Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton's replacement in the U.S. Senate, gets sworn in at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, CIA-designate Leon Panetta's confirmation hearing was postponed this week because he has yet to provide the Senate the necessary paperwork. "The hearings are now scheduled for next week, and it could be mid-February before Mr. Panetta takes over at C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Va. Until then, the departing C.I.A. director, Michael V. Hayden, will stay on as the chief."

"Rep. Peter Welch (Vt.), a new Democratic member of the House ethics committee, gave back nearly $20,000 in donations he received from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who is under investigation by the panel for an array of ethics charges," The Hill reports, adding, "Bob Rogan, Welch's chief of staff, said his boss decided to return the money to avoid any appearance of impropriety when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named him to the panel, along with four other new Democratic members of the ethics committee. The check was sent Monday."

The AP curtain-raises what Defense Secretary Bob Gates will face when he testifies on Capitol Hill today. Expect Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo to be some of the topics he's pressed on.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers yesterday subpoenaed Karl Rove, seeking his appearance at a deposition Feb. 2. Mr. Conyers wants the former aide to President George W. Bush to answer questions on the Justice Department's firings of U.S. attorneys in 2006, among other matters," the Wall Street Journal writes.