Budget Director To Take Over Chief Of Staff Duties

White House Chief of Staff William Daley is stepping down from his post and will be replaced by Budget Director Jack Lew. Over the summer Lew was deeply involved in negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. Daley has only been on the job for about a year.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This morning we're following some shuffling that's underway in the West Wing. The president's chief of staff, Bill Daley, who's only been on the job about a year is out. Daley told President Obama last week that he intended to resign. The president made the announcement yesterday, and introduced his replacement, Jacob Jack Lew, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have every confidence that Jack will make sure that we don't miss a beat and continue to do everything we can to strengthen our economy and the middle class and keep the American people safe.

GREENE: Now NPR's Tamara Keith has more on Jack Lew and what he brings to the job.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The Office of Management and Budget, where Jack Lew has been director for a little more than a year, is a powerful arm of the executive branch that many outside of the Beltway have never heard of. OMB, as the office is known, writes the president's budget and much more. Alice Rivlin, now at the Brookings Institution was OMB director under President Clinton. And Lew was her deputy.

ALICE RIVLIN: OMB director has a broad purview over the whole government because everything is either in the budget or regulations or something. And so it's a very natural transition.

KEITH: This is Lew's second stint as OMB director. He came to the administration after about two and a half years at Citigroup, though he's spent most of his professional life working in government. During his first term under President Clinton, Lew oversaw three years in a row of budget surpluses. The situation now is very different. Over the summer he was deeply involved in negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. And in September, he appeared at a press briefing to discuss the president's deficit reduction plan.

JACOB JACK LEW: I think if you look at the details that are in here, there's very real structural change and there's very meaningful savings in many areas.

KEITH: As President Obama described it, Lew will be going from one of the most difficult jobs in Washington to one of the most difficult jobs in Washington. Matt Bennett worked in the Clinton White House when Lew was OMB director for the first time. Now Bennett is a senior vice president at Third Way, a think tank.

MATT BENNETT: The job of OMB director is to get spears thrown at you all day long by people who want more money, less regulation. He did a very good job of gently deflecting the criticism and making people feel like they've been heard, so I think that's a pretty good training ground for being chief of staff.

KEITH: He says Lew is about as battle tested as you can be. Bennett says this appointment is all about continuity. Lew has already been a senior member of the Obama team, involved in a wide array of administration decisions related to the economy and foreign policy.

BENNETT: I doubt that with the exception of people that attend senior staff meetings and are really in the direct orbit of the president that it will be easy to see a big difference.

KEITH: And at this point in the administration, at the start of an election year, an easy transition without a lot of waves may be exactly what President Obama needs.

Tamara Keith, NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.