America

White House Picks Peter Orszag's Replacement: Jacob Lew

Russian Minister of Economic Development

Jacob Lew, President Obama's pick to head the OMB, in Paris, alongside Russia's Minister of Economic Development, Elvira Nabiullina. Eric Piermont/AFP hide caption

itoggle caption Eric Piermont/AFP

This afternoon, President Obama announced his choice to replace Peter Orszag as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB): Jacob Lew.

Who is Lew?

An old hand, for one thing. During the Clinton administration, from 1998 to 2001, he was the director of the OMB.

Lew is currently the deputy secretary of management and resources at the Department of State.

"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," the president said in a statement.

As the budget director who left the administration a $237 billion surplus when he worked for President Clinton, I have no doubt that Jack has proven himself equal to this extraordinary role.

He has his work cut out for him.

"Mr. Lew, if confirmed by the Senate, would inherit a deficit well over $1 trillion and the task of turning back the red ink in a budget for fiscal 2011, set for release early next year," The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman writes.

Good luck.

Orszag's tenure ends on July 30. After then, he'll be a distinguished visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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