White House budget director Peter Orszag, one of the most visible members of President Barack Obama's economic team, will be leaving his post in July—the most senior official to leave the Obama administration, according to two knowledgeable administration officials. Officials close to Mr. Orszag noted that he had served nearly four stressful years in similar posts, first as director of the Congressional Budget Office, then as Mr. Obama's first director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Orszag helped steer through Congress a $797 billion economic-stimulus bill in his first weeks at the White House job before becoming one of the driving forces in shaping the health-care law.
The president had wanted a decision from Mr. Orszag before the fall, when the administration will begin the arduous process of putting together the fiscal 2011 budget amid some of the greatest budget pressures in modern U.S. history. Mr. Orszag will also be marrying Bianna Golodryga, an ABC News business reporter, in September, and "restarting his life," a person close to the budget director said.
Already, administration officials have begun vetting possible successors. One, Gene Sperling, a director of President Bill Clinton's National Economic Council and a top aide to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, has been cleared to take the position of deputy budget director, but uncertainty about Mr. Orszag's departure date had frozen Mr. Sperling's move. Along with Mr. Sperling, White House officials are considering new names, including Laura Tyson, a former top Clinton White House economist and dean of the University of California's Haas School of Business; Robert Greenstein, director of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Rep. Artur Davis (D., Ala.), an early supporter of Mr. Obama's White House bid who recently lost the Democratic nomination for his long-shot campaign to be Alabama's first African-American governor.