- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, positioning him to be the first high-profile member of President Obama’s team to depart the administration.

Mr. Orszag confirmed his planned resignation in a brief interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday. He said he views passage of last year’s economic recovery act as his most significant accomplishment.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that “a number of very talented candidates” were being considered to replace Mr. Orszag.

“Peter has served alongside and within a valuable economic team that has faced the greatest economic crisis any president has faced since the Great Depression. It is an enormous task,” Mr. Gibbs said.

As OMB director, Mr. Orszag holds Cabinet-level rank and a pivotal role in shaping and defending how the administration spends the public’s money. He quickly emerged from a bureaucratic post to become a camera-friendly face of Mr. Obama’s government, often in front on plans to confront the deficit and to spur the economy.

Speculation has for weeks held that Mr. Orszag would leave this year after a grueling, nonstop sprint as the head of the budget agency and a key adviser to Mr. Obama. During his tenure, Congress has passed the most expensive economic stimulus program in U.S. history and a massive health care reform law. Mr. Orszag has overseen Mr. Obama’s first two budgets, too. Mr. Gibbs said Mr. Orszag decided to leave before work began on a third.

Mr. Orszag, 41, came to the Obama administration from the position of director of the Congressional Budget Office, the agency charged with providing nonpartisan analyses of economic issues to lawmakers. He served during former President Bill Clinton’s administration as an assistant to the president for economic policy and a senior adviser at the National Economic Council.

The move comes as Mr. Obama continues to face the steep economic challenges of reining in the deficit and rallying support for more stimulative spending. The economic recovery is plodding along, but unemployment remains near 10 percent.

Associated Press writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.

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