President Obama has turned to budget aide Brian Deese to replace the outgoing John Podesta, a Clinton era advisor brought in to help the White House prepare for its last four years in office after Obama won re-election in 2012.
Deese, who served as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, will step up to senior advisor when Podesta leaves in February, the White House said.
As a part of his new role, Deese will be part of the White House strategic team, focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and legislative strategy. He will also take over the climate and energy portfolio that Podesta has handled – which will be one of Obama’s top priorities for the remainder of his term, the White House said.
Podesta, an advocate of using executive actions to circumvent Congress, said Deese’s experience “makes him a particularly good choice to give advice to (chief of staff) Denis McDonough and the president about how to roll forward and add to the momentum that we began during my tenure here."
McDonough called him “kind of the whole package – policy, strategy, insight to legislative and public affairs matters – and that’s what the president was looking for."
His responsibilities will include coordinating the administration’s effort to reach an international climate accord in Paris later this year. He will also continue the administration’s efforts on conservation and land management and serve as the main liaison between outside energy and climate advisors and advocates and the White House.
Since September, Deese ran the policymaking process around the State of the Union address with Obama and his top advisors. Currently the Deputy OMB Director, Deese in his new role will span domestic and international policymaking, with a continued focus on fiscal strategy in context of upcoming budget battles, the White House said.
The AP, which first reported the news, noted that Deese has had a long history with Obama and is one of the few remaining White House officials who were with Obama during the 2008 campaign. As a 31-year-old special assistant to the president for economic policy, he helped craft the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler — a then controversial governmental intervention in a major U.S. industry. The White House said he’s worked closely on nearly all economic policy initiatives, including budget, financial reform, energy and tax policy.