Aides to President-elect Donald Trump are considering Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) as a candidate for Treasury secretary, a pick that would bring an elected official with a free-market background and deep GOP ties into one of the cabinet's most powerful posts, people familiar with the matter said.
Continue Reading Below
Mr. Hensarling, a former congressional aide who now represents the Dallas area, is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, a panel he has served on for more than a decade. He has pursued top Republican priorities, such as rolling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.
People familiar with the matter said the transition process has only ramped up in recent days, and they are far from making final recommendations to Mr. Trump. Still, Mr. Hensarling's Texas roots could offer a sharp contrast to other potential nominees, particularly those with the kind of Wall Street ties that Mr. Trump railed about during the campaign.
Mr. Hensarling said in an interview Thursday he would "certainly have the discussion" if the Trump administration came calling.
"But I'm not anticipating the telephone call," Mr. Hensarling added. "It is not something I've indicated interest in. It is not something I am pursuing…I think I'm in a pretty good position now to advance the cause."
Mr. Hensarling's consideration shows the strong influence Vice President-elect Mike Pence has on key decisions. Messrs. Pence and Hensarling worked closely together in the House of Representatives, and their views on many financial issues are closely aligned.
Continue Reading Below
Mr. Hensarling had backed Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) for president during the primary, but he later endorsed Mr. Trump and praised him for selecting Mr. Pence as his running mate.
Mr. Hensarling has been a leading critic of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which finances U.S. exports. The Export-Import Bank's charter lapsed for nearly five months last year after Mr. Hensarling led a campaign to block its reauthorization. The bank has been unable this year to back deals larger than $10 million because the Senate hasn't filled vacant board positions.
Mr. Hensarling also sought to pass legislation in 2013 that would phase out government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a key piece of unfinished business from the 2008 financial crisis the Trump administration is likely to inherit.
Nick Timiraos contributed to this article.