New budget office head a familiar face

Jacob J. 'Jack' Lew looks on as President Barack Obama announces that he has selected Lew to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS:
President Obama's pick for director of the White House Office of Management and Budget is Jacob Lew -- nickname, Jack. He's going to be a familiar face to many Senators asking him questions today. He was OMB director for President Clinton.

Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports.


JOHN DIMSDALE: The OMB director is responsible for the president's budget. And that will automatically provoke administration critics.

But Larry Haas, who worked with Lew at OMB, says he's well-liked in Congress.

LARRY HAAS: But there's no question Republicans will see his nomination hearings as an opportunity to focus attention on big deficits of the last few years, health care reform and the like.

Among Lew's challenges will be improving morale in the office. In the latest rankings of the best places to work in government, OMB dropped from third best to 25th.

Gary Bass is with OMB Watch.

GARY BASS: Jack will come in with much stronger management skills and probably give much greater support to the civil service staff to do their work.

Senators will ask why Lew got almost a million dollar bonus when he left Citibank in 2009. That was after Citi got $50 billion in taxpayer help. At least one Republican wants to know if those are connected.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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