WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Thursday said they would support the nomination of Jacob Lew, the President’s nominee to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
If confirmed, Lew, who was OMB Director during the Clinton Administration, would succeed Peter Orszag, who resigned in July as the Obama Administration’s first OMB Director.
The Committee announced that it would hold a business meeting to approve Lew’s nomination on September 21, 2010.
“Mr. Lew’s long career managing budgets, finances, technology, and operations in the government, private and academic sectors—including having been the budget director under President Clinton—by itself speaks well of his qualifications for this job,” Senator Lieberman said. “But his career achievement that most impresses me is that as budget director, he left office with a $237 billion federal budget surplus. Times have changed and our present economic challenges are different and more difficult than they were in the 1990s, but there is a financial reckoning coming if we do not get our spending and deficits under control.”
Senator Collins described to Mr. Lew the economic concerns of her constituents in Maine. “Everywhere I traveled in Maine last month, whether I was talking to a machine-shop owner, a trucking company operator, a small residential contractor, or other employers, I heard the same refrain: Given the tax and economic policies coming out of Washington, we don’t dare create any jobs or take any risks.” Senator Collins asked Lew a number of tough questions about the economy and OMB’s role in shaping fiscal policy.
“Without bold, urgent action, we are heading toward a future of financial stagnation, bogged down by costly entitlements, slow job creation, and sluggish economic growth,” she said. “This is the stark economic and fiscal environment that will confront the next OMB Director. We need common-sense analyses of what is working and what is not. We require honest assessments of fiscal realities, untarnished by political calculus. And, we expect the courage to admit mistakes and change course. Otherwise, the Executive branch and Congress cannot make the bold moves needed to do what is right for the American taxpayer.”
Committee members quizzed Lew on tax policy, the burgeoning deficit, and federal contracting, which the Committee has long monitored due to the government’s over-reliance on noncompetitive, wasteful contracts.
Lew currently serves as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, a position he has held since 2009. He worked at OMB from 1994-2001, as Assistant Director, Executive Associate Director, Deputy Director, and Director.