named former Clinton administration budget chief Jacob J. Lew Tuesday as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget
, an assignment that comes with a trillion dollar-plus deficit
"Jack" Lew, who succeeds Peter Orszag at OMB, has worked for both Clintons. Under then-President Bill Clinton
, he ran the budget office between 1998 and 2000, an era that saw balanced budgets and surpluses, one year reaching $237 billion in the black. He currently serves as deputy secretary of state for management and resources -- essentially, the chief operating officer for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
at Foggy Bottom.
A graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown University law school, Lew began his career in the federal government as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill
in 1973. In the 1980s, he was the principal domestic policy adviser to House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill.
He comes to the budget office at a time of massive deficits, accentuated by two wars and ramped-up government spending meant to stimulate the economy. "The experience and good judgment Jack has acquired throughout his impressive career in the public and private sector will be an extraordinary asset to this administration's efforts to cut down the deficit and put our nation back on a fiscally responsible path," Obama said in a statement.
Introducing Lew at the White House, Obama joked, "I was actually worried that Hillary would not let him go. I had to trade a number of number one draft picks to get Jack back at OMB."
Lew's will first have to shepherd the 2011 budget, which is supposed to go into effect on Oct. 1, before writing a 2012 spending plan, which Obama will unveil early next year.