Peter Orszag To Resign As Budget Director

While much of the blogosphere spent yesterday speculating about the future of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, it turns out there’s another member of the Obama Administration who’s heading out the door first:

White House budget director Peter Orszag has decided to leave the Obama administration, likely in the next few weeks, a Democrat familiar with his plans said Monday night. His departure would make him the first member of President Obama’s Cabinet to leave the White House.

As head of the Office of Management and Budget, Orszag has been one of Obama’s top lieutenants on two of the president’s signature legislative efforts: the stimulus bill, passed early in the administration, and the health care overhaul passed this year.

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 exact timing of when Orszag would leave the administration remained unclear, the Democrat said, speaking on condition of the anonymity to avoid souring relations with administration officials. Orszag’s plans to quit have been rumored for months in Washington, particularly once he wrapped up budget planning for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

OMB spokesman Kenneth S. Baer said late Monday that “Peter’s focused on his work, not on Washington speculation.”

Many past budget directors have left the job after two years, and news of Orszag’s wedding plans only increased speculation about whether he would stay on. Bloomberg News first reported Monday night on his plans.

An administration official suggested privately that Orszag might delay his departure until the OMB issues its “mid-session review,” or the revised estimates of budget receipts, outlays and budget authority for fiscal 2010 to 2020. That review is due July 15.

This doesn’t strike me as the beginning of a trend so much as it appears that Orszag apparently is burned out after two years in a high pressure job. Not uncommon in Washington.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.