Ex-Clinton Adviser Is Choice to Head CBO

By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peter R. Orszag, a Brookings Institution economist who served as a senior economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, was named yesterday to head the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency that provides lawmakers with cost estimates for legislation and other budgetary analyses.

Incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) announced Orszag's nomination, saying the economist was selected from three finalists who were interviewed Monday by a bipartisan team of congressional budget leaders.

Orszag is "exceptional," Conrad said in a written statement. "Not only is he an outstanding economist, widely recognized as one of the most able economists in the country, but he also has written widely on the many challenges facing the Budget Committee, the Congress, and the country."

Orszag also won praise from the outgoing chairman, Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who called him "an excellent choice" and a man who "shares my deep concerns about the fiscal challenges posed by entitlement spending."

Orszag, an expert on Social Security, is a co-founder with Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin of the Hamilton Project, which seeks to address income inequality in the United States without hampering American competitiveness. Before joining Brookings, Orszag served as a special assistant to Clinton for economic policy and as a senior adviser on Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers.

Conrad said he would recommend Orszag in January to House and Senate leaders, who would formally appoint him to a four-year term. He would replace Acting Director Donald Marron, who has been serving in that capacity since Douglas Holtz-Eakin left the agency last year for the Council on Foreign Relations. Marron and Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, were also finalists for the job.

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