Washington - White House Budget Director Peter Orszag To Resign in July
Washington - Peter R. Orszag will leave his job as the White House budget director in July, according to someone familiar with his plans, making him perhaps the first official to leave the Obama Cabinet and removing a major player from President Obama’s economic team.
Mr. Orszag, an economist who previously spent nearly two years as director of the Congressional Budget Office, somewhat reluctantly accepted Mr. Obama’s invitation to join the Cabinet after the 2008 election and never planned to stay more than two years. Typically, budget directors do not.
While the president recently urged Mr. Orszag to remain, the calendar for drafting the next budget weighed in favor of Mr. Orszag leaving sooner. So did Mr. Orszag’s personal calendar: He is getting married in September.
By fall, as Congress is taking final action on the budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the Office of Management and Budget is busy preparing the next year’s budget request to be released next February. Mr. Orszag argued inside the White House that his successor should be in place to put the next budget together from the start.
In recent months, Mr. Orszag, 41, espoused deficit reduction strategies in administration debates against those who pressed for more stimulus spending and tax cuts to keep the economy from slipping back into recession. He will leave before the bipartisan debt-reduction commission that Mr. Obama formed earlier this year — and which Mr. Orszag championed — is due to report its recommendations by Dec. 1.
Mr. Orszag has said that even if the panel fails to reach agreement, the Obama administration could adopt some of the ideas it leaves on the table for the administration’s next budget.
For all of his recent attention to deficit reduction, Mr. Orszag’s first job for Mr. Obama, even before they officially took office in January 2009, was to be an architect for greatly adding to a deficit then projected at $1.3 trillion for the fiscal year. He helped put together the $787 billion two-year stimulus package.
A longtime scholar of health policy economics, Mr. Orszag also helped devise and sell the president’s signature initiative overhauling the health insurance system. He privately has told associates that having worked on two budgets, a stimulus plan and the health care law, it is time to leave while he is ahead.