Obama to nominate Lew as budget director

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will nominate Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level post that plays a crucial role in shaping how the administration spends the public's money.

In a statement, Obama said Lew 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."

Obama plans to formally nominate Lew at the White House Tuesday afternoon.

Lew was budget director for almost three years at the end of the Clinton administration. He presided over a revenue boom of the late 1990s — when federal coffers were so flush that policymakers pressed to put surplus Social Security dollars into a lockbox so that they wouldn't fund other programs.

If confirmed, Lew would replace OMB director Peter Orszag, who is stepping down this month. He would inherit an extraordinary budget mess, with the deficit already exceeding $1 trillion for the first three quarters of the fiscal year. Current projections show unsustainable large deficits for the coming decade, but the administration has not devised a plan to get them under control, instead pinning its hopes on a bipartisan fiscal commission that many believe is doomed to election-year gridlock.

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