US President Barack Obama nominated longtime adviser Jason Furman to be his new chief economist on Monday, elevating a former campaign aide 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. 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 doctorate 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.
“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 US Department of Labor who has drawn attention for her work on the economics of the family.
Furman served as special assistant to former US president Bill Clinton at the National Economic Council between 1999 and 2000 and also did a stint at the World Bank. He has advised Obama since his 2008 presidential campaign.