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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Senate confirms Jack Lew as OMB director

By Ed O'Keefe


Newly minted Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob J. Lew (Photo by Jay Malin)

Eye Opener

Jacob J. Lew won confirmation Thursday as head of the Office of Management and Budget all because Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to visit the Gulf Coast region on Monday.

Senators confirmed Lew by voice vote Thursday night after Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) lifted her hold on his selection over objections to the Obama administration's oil drilling moratorium.

She reversed course after months of objections after Salazar assured her he will visit the region on Monday and plans to issue new oil drilling permits.

President Obama said Lew, "brings unparalleled experience and wisdom to this important job at a critical time in our nation's history."

"We need to make the tough choices to put our country back on a sustainable fiscal path and lay the foundation for long-term job creation and economic growth," Obama said. "We need to cut waste where we find it and create a government that is efficient, effective, and responsive to the American people. I am confident Jack Lew can lead us in these efforts, and look forward to working with him in the days ahead."

With Lew taking the reins of OMB Friday, he has about two months to put the finishing touches on Obama's proposed fiscal 2012 budget. Most of the budget work has been handled in recent weeks by acting deputy director Rob Nabors, according to aides.

But Lew is no stranger to OMB: He held the same job during the later years of Bill Clinton's presidency.

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DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
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Army colonel recommends trial, death penalty in Fort Hood shooting: Col. James L. Pohl makes an initial recommendation that Nidal Malik Hasan be court-martialed on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

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Defense-spending bill enters uncharted waters: Political upheaval in Washington has upended the Pentagon's traditional budget cycle, creating serious uncertainty for the military and the defense industry.

Group calls Defense budget cuts critical to reducing deficit: Siding with the chairmen of the president's bipartisan fiscal commission, a group of defense analysts and experts Thursday argued that reducing the deficit is imperative to ensuring national security.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Telework legislation passes: There may be less congestion on Washington-area roads in the coming years, now that the House has passed a bill that gives more federal workers the option of working from home or locations outside the office.

Expanded benefit aimed at helping feds stop smoking: Under new benefits, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plans must provide for free up to four smoking cessation counseling sessions per quit attempt, for two quit attempts per year.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
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NASA:
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SEC:
Risk chief to leave SEC: Henry Hu, who joined the agency last year to head up its new risk division, is leaving the agency and returning to academia.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
Watchdog calls for removal of State Department's interim IG: The Project on Government Oversight says Foggy Bottom's interim watchdog has an inappropriately close relationship with agency management.

TSA:
How Republicans learned to hate the TSA all over again: The idea of a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security came from the Democratic Party just after the 9/11 attacks. It wasn't until 2002 that the Republican Party latched on to the concept and took ownership of it.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | November 19, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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