Obama names Furman as new White House chief economist

Updated: 2013-06-11 09:45


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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama nominated longtime adviser Jason Furman to be his new chief economist on Monday, elevating a former campaign aide and Clinton administration official to oversee an agency with wide influence over US economic policy.

Furman will replace economist Alan Krueger as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Krueger is returning to his post as a professor at Princeton University, from which he has been on leave.

Furman, a father of two who holds a Ph.D in economics from Harvard University, helped create the economic stimulus package that dominated Obama's first year in office and also advised on the formulation of the president's signature healthcare reform act, tax policy, and budget talks with US lawmakers.

Obama names Furman as new White House chief economist

US President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jason Furman (L) to chair the White House Council of Economic Advisors in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, June 10, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

"When the stakes are highest, there's no one I'd rather turn to for straightforward, unvarnished advice," Obama said of Furman during a ceremony at the White House, speaking to an audience of top advisers, other economists and family members.

"He's worked tirelessly on just about every major economic challenge of the past four and a half years, from averting a second depression, to fighting for tax cuts that help millions of working families make ends meet, to creating new incentives for businesses to hire, to reducing our deficits in a balanced way that benefits the middle class," Obama said.

The president further filled out his economics advisory panel by naming high-profile University of Michigan labor economist Betsey Stevenson as a member of the three-person council. Stevenson is a former chief economist at the Department of Labor who has drawn attention for her work on the economics of the family.

Furman served as special assistant to President Bill Clinton at the National Economic Council from 1999-2000 and also did a stint at the World Bank. He has advised Obama since his 2008 presidential campaign.

"He is brilliant, works harder than anyone I know, and is incredibly influential - both inside the White House and with Congress," said Christina Romer, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former chair of the CEA under Obama.

"He is a somewhat unusual candidate for CEA chair, but for the current environment, he is perfect. He will absolutely be influential and will ensure that the careful economic analysis CEA can provide is front and center in policy discussions."

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