Obama Taps Labor Expert To Head Council Of Economic Advisers

Aug 29, 2011 12:30pm

ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:

President Obama today announced that he is nominating labor economist Alan Krueger to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, saying he expects Krueger to provide him with “unvarnished” advice on the economy.

Ahead of his much-anticipated announcement next week outlining a new jobs initiative, Obama said today that it’s “more important than ever” that the council provide “recommendations not based on politics, not based on narrow interests, but based on the best evidence, based on what’s going to do the most good for the most people in this country.”

“We need folks in Washington to make decisions based on what's best for the country, not what's best for any political party or special interest,” Obama said in the Rose Garden.

The president called growing the economy “our urgent mission” and, once again, said he will unveil “a series of steps that Congress can take immediately” to create jobs. Obama has been calling for lawmakers to increase investments in infrastructure, extend the payroll tax cut and reform the patent system, among other measures.

Describing him as “one of the nation’s leading economists,” Obama said Krueger will being a “wealth of experience to the job.”

Krueger, 50, previously served as the Chief Economist at both the Treasury and Labor Departments. He is also a Princeton University professor. If confirmed, Krueger would take the place of Austan Goolsbee, who left the position earlier this month to return to teaching at the University of Chicago.

“It's going to be tough to fill the shoes of Austan Goolsbee, who's been a great friend and adviser who I've relied on for years,” Obama said. “But I have nothing but confidence in Alan as he takes on this important role as one of the leaders of my economic team.”

Today’s announcement completes a shake-up of the White House economic team that has left Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the only remaining official from Obama’s original circle of advisers.

Previous Council of Economic Advisers chair Christina Romer left in September 2010, National Economic Council director Larry Summers returned to Harvard in January, and Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag left last July.

Following speculation that Geithner was also readying to leave, Treasury announced earlier this month that the Secretary is in fact staying in his current position.

This post has been updated.

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