Orszag speaks! Or at least he will.
Outgoing Office of Management and Budget chief Peter Orszag has plenty to do before he leaves his job in the next few weeks. OMB needs to finish its "mid-session review" of key budget estimates -- which is due July 15, as in Thursday. He's got to plan his Sept. 25 wedding in New York to ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga. (The couple are registered at Bloomingdale's.)
Beyond some speculation that he may be going to a think tank for a while before heading off for serious Wall Street money, there's been nothing specific about his plans. (And, after all, there's that growing family to feed -- two kids from a first marriage and the 7-month-old girl he fathered with an ex-girlfriend.)
OMB spokesman Kenneth S. Baer told reporters last month that "Peter's focused on his work, not on Washington speculation."
Still, it was good to hear that he hadn't stopped thinking about tomorrow. We got an e-mail the other day saying that Jeremy Steele, a senior vice president at the Harry Walker Agency, a top booking agency for public speakers, wanted to "share some exciting news."
"As you probably know, Peter Orszag, the 37th Director of the Office of Management and Budget, is stepping down at the end of July," Steele said. (A White House official confirmed Thursday afternoon that it would be July 30.) "We will have the honor of representing him exclusively for all of his speaking engagements which take place after he leaves office." Steele included as background an Orszag profile from WhoRunsGov.com.
Signing up for an exclusive deal is surely the way to go, and Harry Walker is an excellent selection. Orszag joins a stellar stable, including Henry Kissinger, Karl Rove and Bono and featuring former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.
It's unclear how much Orszag will get per speech -- should be up to about $25,000 or so, according to two sources handled by the agency. That's a fine start.
Those were the days
Speaking of the OMB, there's word that the White House has made another run at Clinton administration OMB director Jacob "Jack" Lew, who headed the place back when there were actually budget surpluses far as the eye can see, to come back from Foggy Bottom, where he's deputy secretary of state. But there's strong resistance from Madam Secretary.
The fight's just begun
Seems the long-simmering battle over who is going to run U.S. overseas development aid -- we're talking many billions of dollars -- is heating up again. The question is whether the State Department, which has worked over the years to make the Agency for International Development a wholly owned subsidiary, is going to be in charge or whether AID will be a relatively independent operation.
There are signs it could be bloody.
For example, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) is working on new legislation and recently circulated a preliminary draft of just the preamble to the first title (or chapter) of an 11-title bill. The State Department quickly saw a major problem.
We got a July 2 e-mail circulating among State Department folks with "Subject: . . . Discussion Draft of Foreign Assistance Bill 'Global Partnerships Act of 2010.' "