Lew is expected to play a role in the negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff.
The White House chief of staff is rumored to beObama’s candidate to fill the Treasury secretary slot soon to be vacatedby Timothy F. Geithner.But for now, he’s Obama’s most experienced budget hand. Lew hasheld the budget director job for both President Bill Clinton and Obama andearlier worked for Speaker Tip O’Neill, so he knows all the issues at agranular level. Lew isn’t flashy, but has been a fierce protector ofDemocratic priorities behind the scenes — occasionally to the point ofirritating his Republican counterparts who feel he has a tendency to lecturethem. But Lew, more than any other staffer in Washington, has arésumé seemingly built for this moment, when Obama’sleverage is at its apex after winning a second term. And that was not byaccident. The White House under Lew’s guidance helped set up thisyear’s fiscal cliff to strengthen the president’s hand after talkson a grand bargain collapsed last year. Lew, of course, also is wearing otherhats: The president has to fill a number of high-profile posts, from CIAdirector to the top jobs at State, Treasury and Defense. Lew, who has servedstints at State as well as at Citigroup, will be in the mix of just abouteverything in the next month.
Rob Nabors, Director of legislativeaffairs White House
The White House’s chief legislativeliaison has been in the thick of negotiations the past two years and could getthe nod as Obama’s next budget chief. Nabors and Lew go back to theClinton years, when Lew tapped Nabors for a senior post at the Office ofManagement and Budget. Nabors then became a deputy at the OMB under Obamabefore becoming the liaison to Capitol Hill. He served a lengthy stint on theHill, most notably as staff director of the House Appropriations Committeeunder then-chairman David Obey. Nabors has a smooth, no-drama style.Republicans have called him a pro who keeps politics out of the negotiatingroom. And congressional Democrats credited him with almost single-handedlyrescuing the White House’s relationship amid friction with Daley.According to Krone, Nabors sensed the need for damage control and went out ofhis way to make sure Reid and Krone were fully briefed. Reid, in turn, went tobat for Nabors’ position inside the White House. “He told thepresident, ‘I don’t trust Daley, I trust Rob,’” KronetoldRoll Call earlier this year. Nabors’ role may be even greaterthis time around with Lew having to juggle many other tasks.