Last week President Obama nominated Jacob “Jack” Lew to be the new head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), replacing Peter Orszag, who is stepping down at the end of July. OMB is primarily responsible for developing the President’s budget.
If confirmed by the Senate, as expected, Lew will become OMB director for the second time. He served as President Clinton’s director from 1998 through the end of the Clinton administration in 2001.
While Lew is familiar with the job, the budget picture has changed considerably. Lew was OMB director during the only four years of budget surpluses since the late 1960’s. He was also a key negotiator on the bipartisan balanced budget agreement in 1997. Now the budget environment is even more partisan and the country is experiencing the largest deficits since the end of World War II.
The change in OMB leadership provides an opportunity to review the changes that have taken place since Lew’s last stint as budget director and also gives us another chance to review the major decisions looming for the federal budget.
The final budget presented by Lew for the Clinton administration in February of 2000 (FY 2001)...