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Peter Orzag, Obama Budget Chief, Leaving Office

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Filed: Other Country: Israel

Peter Orszag, White House budget chief, to leave administration, source says

By Michael D. Shear

Monday, June 21, 2010; 10:44 PM

White House budget director Peter Orszag has decided to leave the Obama administration, likely in the next few weeks, after an intense 18-month stint overseeing the development of the president's spending initiatives, 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 his 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 recent news that he had fathered a child with ex-girlfriend Claire Milonas, a Greek shipping heiress, and his engagement to ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga. Their wedding is planned for this fall.

The exact timing of when Orszag would leave remained unclear, the Democrat said, speaking on condition of 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 the administration's budget planning for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Bloomberg News first reported Monday night on Orszag's plans.

The White House is now preparing the administration's next budget, which would necessitate a speedier timetable for nominating a replacement at OMB. The position requires Senate confirmation, which could spark a confrontation with Republicans over the administration's economic policies.

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