Washington: After overseeing Barack Obama`s
key stimulus plans for 18 months, White House budget director
Peter Orszag, one of the US President`s top lieutenants is
quitting, becoming the first to leave his cabinet, American
media reported on Tuesday.
As head of the Office of Management and Budget, Orszag
has been behind two of the president`s signature legislative
efforts: the stimulus bill and the health care overhaul.
The exact timing of when Orszag would leave the
administration remained unclear, Washington Post reported.
However, CNN said Orszag will quit in July.
Orszag, 41, has been at the centre of some of the most
fierce and contentious Washington debates for more than three
years: He was head of the Congressional Budget Office for two
years under President George W. Bush before joining the Obama
administration since its inauguration in January 2009.
Orszag has been a key part of Obama`s economic team,
serving in his role as director of the Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) during the passage of the crucial economic
stimulus bill and this year`s landmark health care reform
As budget director, he crafted policy, but also was a
prime negotiator with congressional Republicans.
Orszag`s plans to quit have been rumoured for months in
Washington, particularly once he wrapped up budget planning
for the fiscal year that begins October 1, the Post said.
He also generated some headlines of his own, with the
news that he had fathered a child with ex-girlfriend Claire
Milonas, a Greek shipping heiress, and that he had become
engaged to ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga. Their wedding
is planned for September, the Post said.
Those who have been mentioned as a possible successor to
Orszag include Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to Treasury
Secretary Timothy F. Geithner who was a top economic official
during President Bill Clinton`s administration; Laura Tyson,
chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton;
Rob Nabors, who was deputy OMB director before moving over to
the White House; and Jeffrey Liebman, acting deputy OMB