OMB Director Becomes Chief of Staff, Leaves Vacancy at Critical Time

January 17, 2012 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

Looking for a challenging job opportunity? The Office of Management and Budget has just such an opening.

On Jan. 9, President Obama announced that he had accepted the resignation of Bill Daley, his chief of staff. The president (who Politico described as “surprised” and “stunned” by the resignation) announced that the post would be filled by Jacob Lew, who has headed up OMB for the past year.

It’s a tough time for OMB to lose its top official – just as federal agencies are developing their budget requests for FY 2013. (Wait – wasn’t the budget for FY 2012 just finalized a couple of weeks ago?! Yes. Yes it was.) Apparently, Lew will stay on at OMB long enough to see that process through, but still, it’s an awkward responsibility while he already has one foot out the door.

Lew has also been instrumental in leading many of the administration’s recent efforts to increase transparency and accountability around federal spending, including the Campaign to Cut Waste initiative and the creation of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board.  Lew recently published a post on OMB’s blog on those activities.

The White House hasn’t commented on who might replace Lew.  And if our sources close to OMB have any inkling, they’re not talking. One possibility is Heather Higginbottom, who has been Lew’s deputy, although a couple of other names have also begun floating about. We’ll be staying tuned to this one, because it’ll be mighty interesting to see how it unfolds.

If you’re a sucker for political dramatics, Politico published a number of pieces capturing some of the insider baseball surrounding Daley’s departure and the responses to it, including here, here and here.

What would you like to see from the new leader at OMB? Who do you think is up to the task?

In other news, they’re baaaaaack. The House returns today from its winter recess, and the Senate returns next week. Will Congress be able to be more productive and less acrimonious than in 2011? In an election year?! Surely you jest.



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