Obama nominates Clinton veteran Lew to balance the federal budget once again

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The Independent Online

President Barack Obama will nominate Jacob Lew as the new director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, the White House said yesterday.

Mr Lew, who served as President Bill Clinton's budget chief between 1998 and 2001, is currently the deputy secretary of state for management and resources.

"The experience and good judgement 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," Mr Obama said.

The US president is committed to curbing the country's record deficit and rising debt in the medium term, but he wants to maintain taxpayer support for growth and jobs until recruitment has picked up. "As the budget director who left the next administration a $237bn (£156bn) surplus when he worked for President Clinton, I have no doubt that Jack has proven himself equal to this extraordinary task," Mr Obama said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr Lew would replace Peter Orszag, who steps down on 30 July to take up a post at the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential think tank.

The 54-year-old Mr Lew is one of the closest aides of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in his current role, which he combines with being chief operating officer at the State Department. Although a lifelong Democrat, he is said to be popular with members of both parties. The Senate confirmed him quickly in his current post in January 2009 when Mr Obama nominated him, which could be a good omen for his confirmation to his new post.

However, he is also a former hedge-fund manager, which could be an issue during the confirmation process. He was the managing director of Citigroup's Citi Alternative Investments, which manages private equity, hedge funds and real-estate investments.

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