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Overview:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) functions as the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government. The OMB oversees the budgetary activities of various federal agencies for the White House and offers advice to senior White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulatory, procurement, e-gov, and budgetary functions. One of the largest tasks assigned to the office is preparing the President’s annual budget request submitted to Congress, a document that runs into the thousands of pages. Over the last 30 years, the agency has sometimes found itself in the thick of political debates over balancing the federal budget. Its most famous director, David Stockman, became a high-profile figure (unlike most OMB officials) during the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan declared war on big government and attempted (unsuccessfully) to shrink the size of federal agencies.

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History:

In 1921 the Bureau of the Budget was established as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, according to the Accounting Act. The Treasury Department continued overseeing the budget office until 1939, when the Executive Office of the President (EOP) was given authority over the bureau.

 

In 1970, during the Nixon administration, the Bureau of the Budget was reorganized and renamed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the 1990s, it was further reorganized to combine management and budgetary staff responsibilities under the heading of the various Resource Management Offices.

 

Historically, the OMB and its predecessor have quietly gone about its work, leaving public debates over the state of the federal budget in the hands of the White House or Congress. The exception was David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first director of OMB.

 

Stockman entered the White House a true believer in supply-side economics and was gung-ho about radically shrinking the size of government. His ambition to cut federal spending made him a poster child for Reaganomics and a much despised figure among liberals. Despite his zeal, Stockman failed to achieve significant budget cuts in federal spending, which, combined with Reagan’s tax cuts, caused massive budget deficits in the 1980s. A story in the Atlantic Monthly depicted Stockman as a brilliant young conservative idealist who gradually became disillusioned with the conservative movement’s grand theories about how the world worked. Stockman expressed his own disgust with the political process in his memoir, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.

 

For some OMB directors, the position has proven to be a launching pad for bigger assignments in the federal government. Caspar Weinberger and George Shultz both served as head of the budget office for Nixon, with Weinberger going on to serve as Secretary of Defense and Shultz as Secretary of State, both under Reagan. In the Clinton administration, Leon Panetta went from OMB to White House Chief of Staff, as did Joshua Bolten in the administration of President George W. Bush.

 

Peter Orszag, on the other hand, departed the Obama administration after his OMB directorship to become a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing columnist for the New York Times Op-Ed page and Bloomberg View, subsequently joining Citigroup as Vice Chairman of Global Banking. As Obama’s first head of OMB, Orszag was involved with the health care reform plan and responsible for the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

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What it Does:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is a cabinet-level agency operating under the authority of the Executive Office of the President. The agency is responsible for administering the President’s annual budget request, issuing circulars on agency management practices, and reviewing agency regulations. 

 

Six positions within the OMB are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. These include the director, the deputy director, the deputy director for management, and the administrators of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The agency is divided into five Resource Management Offices (RMOs), each led by an OMB associate director. Program examiners within these RMOs are assigned to monitor one or more federal agencies or may be assigned a specific area, along with its management and budgetary issues. Examiners analyze trends and consequences of budget policy, provide strategic and technical support for budget decision making and negotiations, and monitor congressional action on spending legislation.

 

Each year, staff members review federal agency budget requests and help to decide what resource requests will be sent to Congress as part of the President’s budget. Using the Program Assessment Tool, staff members can also review proposed regulations, agency testimony, analyze pending legislation, and oversee all aspects of the President’s Management Agenda. Additionally, they are often called upon to provide information to the agency’s sub-offices, including the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The Office of Federal Financial Management provides direction on how to successfully implement financial management policies and systems. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy coordinates efforts to improve federal procurement law, policies and practices, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) oversees federal regulations and information requirements and develops policies to improve statistics and information management. The Office of Performance and Personnel Management (OPPM) guides agency strategic and annual planning, performance reviews and reporting, and federal personnel policy. The Office of E-Government and Information Technology oversees the use of Internet-based technologies to facilitate citizen interaction with the federal government; it is managed by the Chief Information Officer.

 

Other OMB offices include the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Budget Review Division (BRD) (pdf) and the Legislative Reference Division, which distributes proposed legislation and testimony to all relevant federal reviewers and writes an Enrolled Bill Memorandum to the President once a bill is presented on both sides of Congress. The Enrolled Bill Memorandum details the various elements of the bill, including opinions from relevant federal department and an overall opinion about whether the law should be signed or vetoed. The Legislative Reference Division also issues Statements of Administration Policy, which makes the White House’s official opinions known.

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Management and Budget

Bulletins

Circulars

Congressional Reports

Contact Information

Legislative Information

Letters

Memoranda

News Releases

OMB Locator Service

OMBlog

Open Government Plan

Reports

Testimony

U.S. Budget

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Where Does the Money Go:

The FY 2013 Congressional Budget Submission for the Office of the President (pdf) provides the following outline of expected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expenditures for that year:

 

Personnel Compensation & Benefits                                                  $75,779,000

          Includes salaries, terminal leave, premium pay, reimbursable

          details, assignments under the Intergovernmental Personnel

          Act, and all employee benefits.

Rental Payments to GSA                                                                     $7,235,000

Other Contractual Services                                                                   $6,470,000

          Includes advisory and assistance services, other purchases

          of goods and services from government accounts, operations

          and maintenance of facilities, research and development

          contracts, medical care, operations and maintenance of equipment,

          or subsistence and support of persons, and MAX Budget

          System contractor costs.

Communication, Utilities & Misc. Charges                                             $603,000

          Includes data, voice, and wireless communications, as well

          as utilities, postage, and miscellaneous rental charges.

Equipment                                                                                               $519,000

          Includes IT hardware and software, customized software

          programming, printers and network devices, office furniture,

          photocopiers, fax machines, and telephones.

Supplies and Materials                                                                            $416,000

          Includes general and information technology (IT) supplies,

          newspapers, magazine subscriptions, and government publications.

Travel & Transportation of Persons                                                       $348,000

          Includes official travel, such as per diem, hotel and transportation,

          auto rental, and local transportation.

Printing and Reproduction                                                                       $167,000

Official Entertainment                                                                                 $3,000

Transportation of Things                                                                            $2,000

          Includes commercial express delivery as well as freight

          and other shipping charges.

Total Estimated Budget                                                                       $91,542,000

 

The OMB does not have any information regarding contracts on USASpending.govDocument6. However, the office does work with private contractors. In August 2007, REI Systems announced that it had received a contract from SRA Touchstone, which supports the development of a pilot Web site designed to support OMB’s Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. The site makes acquisition, grant, and loan award data available to the general public, and REI Systems assists with technical support and integration services. In May 2011, REI Systems reported that it had developed for OMB the IT Dashboard, a tool to manage complex federal information technology projects, and that the OMB subsequently released the tool’s source code so that it could be adapted for use by outside companies and agencies.

 

WinMagic, a company supplying disk encryption services, announced in June 2007 that it had been selected to provide protection for sensitive, unclassified data on OMB laptops, other computing devices and removable storage media. The contract extended to the Department of Defense and General Services Administration and could result in contract values exceeding $79 million.

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Controversies:

Capping Private Contractor Executive Compensation

The Obama administration launched an effort in 2011 to cap the amount reimbursed to government contractors for executive compensation.

 

Through the Office of Management and Budget, the administration proposed limiting the compensation at $200,000 a year for company leaders, the same amount paid to cabinet secretaries.

 

To demonstrate why the cap was needed, officials pointed out that following a formula set up under existing federal rules, the statutory limit on reimbursable contractor pay went up to $763,029.

 

Lawmakers in Congress also wanted proposed a plan for capping contractors’ pay. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored legislation that would restrict the taxpayer reimbursement for government contractor salaries. And the Obama administration suggested limiting contractor payments to the highest level paid to senior-most federal officials, such as Cabinet secretaries ($200,000). The bill also would extend the cap to all government contractor employees, not just executives.

OMB Raises Salary Cap For Contractor Executives Because It Has To (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

'Outdated' Contractor Pay Cap Raised 10 Percent (by Matthew Weigelt, Washington Technology)

Obama Jobs and Deficit Proposal Targets Contractor Executive Pay (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

10-12-2011: Lawmakers Urge Super Committee To Address Contractor Salary Cap (by Andrew Lapin, Senedia)

 

Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget got swept up in the Solyndra bankruptcy controversy when government emails revealed OMB officials accused the White House of pressuring them on the company’s loan guarantees.

 

The administration awarded solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra $535 million in loan guarantees in 2009 as part of its green-energy strategy and economic stimulus package. Two years later, the company collapsed, which prompted a federal investigation and plenty of political sniping.

 

A congressional probe turned up emails from the OMB that showed Vice President Joe Biden’s office pressured the OMB to speed up approval of Solyndra’s deal in order for Biden to make a factory groundbreaking event.

 

“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one OMB official wrote to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser. “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

 

Republicans pounced on Solyndra’s failure, labeling it an example of the wastefulness of the stimulus program. They also said it raised doubts about the administration’s funding of green technology, and may have been an example of crony capitalism.

 

Solyndra was founded in part with funding that originated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches (by Frank James, NPR)

GOP: Solyndra Deal was Rushed (by Jim Puzzanghera and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times)

Solyndra Controversy A Transparent Attempt To Kill Green Energy (by David Dayen, Campaign for America’s Future)

Furor Over Loans to Failed Solar Firm (by Matthew Wald and Charlie Savage, New York Times)

 

U.S. Army Plan to Add More Generals Shot Down by OMB

In June 2008, the Associated Press reported that the OMB had quashed a service plan proposed by the U.S. Army to add five active-duty generals to oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance. This came about after a panel criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined war efforts in Iraq an Afghanistan and wasted millions in tax dollars. The Army already has 300 full-time generals, which the OMB has deemed more than enough to handle any new demands. The Army appealed OMB’s decision and, the following month, the OMB reversed its decision.

White House Rejects Army Plan to Hire Generals to Oversee Contracting (Associated Press)

 

White House Leaves Loophole for Foreign Contractors

In March 2008, the White House indicated that it would not remove a loophole inserted into an OMB budget rule that allows foreign contractors to remain silent if they witness fraud or abuse on U.S. government contracts. The Justice Department opposed the exemption and wrote to the OMB, asking for the exemption to be eliminated. Congressman Peter Welch subsequently authored a bill—the Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act (H.R. 5712)—that was signed into law in 2008, which closed that loophole. In January 2012, the OMB—under the Obama administration—directed federal agencies to increase oversight of contractors as a means of cutting down on fraud, waste, and abuse.

White House won't remove loophole allowing foreign contractors to ignore fraud (by John Byrne, Raw Story)

Congress Passes Legislation Which Will Require Contractors to Self-Report

Violations of Criminal and Civil Laws (Sutherland)

OMB memo on contractor oversight (pdf)

 

Government Outsourcing Raises Controversy     

In December 2002, The Washington Post reported that President George W. Bush’s new E-Government initiative (which is part of the OMB) was raising controversy among librarians and public interest groups who were worried that the new law would make it harder and more costly for the public to find government documents and take advantage of existing federal services.

 

Also at issue was a new plan to encourage competition and bids from printing and electronic archiving companies for jobs. The Bush administration said a law requiring agencies of the executive branch to submit all their printing jobs to the GPO was unconstitutional. Previously, the Government Printing Office (GPO) enjoyed a near-monopoly on these services. It maintained that these changes would cost taxpayers an additional $100-200 million every year. Indeed, when it came time to print the federal budget, the GPO placed a bid that was lower than those of private contractors. The OMB said GPO’s winning bid of $387,000 was 23% below what it charged for printing the budget in the previous year. By accepting the GPO bid, the OMB bypassed a potential showdown with Congress, which ordered the administration to have the GPO print the budget. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in 2002 that federal agencies cannot use appropriated funds to purchase printing services without first going through the GPO in most cases.

E-Gov Law Sets Up Clash Over White House Outsourcing Plan (by Brian Krebs, Washington Post)       

OMB e-Government Scorecard Lacks Essential Citizens’ Perspective, Says Report by ForeSee Results (Business Wire)

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Former Directors:

Peter R. Orszag (January 20, 2009 - July 30, 2010)

Jim Nussle (September 4, 2010 - January 19, 2009)

Robert J. Portman  (May 26, 2006 - August 3, 2007)

Joshua B. Bolten  (June 26, 2003 - April 14, 2006)

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.  (January 23, 2001- June 6, 2003)

Jacob J. Lew  (May 21, 1998 - January 19, 2001)

Franklin D. Raines  (September 13, 1996 - May 21, 1998)

Alice M. Rivlin  (October 17, 1994 - April 26, 1996)

Leon E. Panetta   (January 21, 1993 - October 1994)

Richard G. Darman   (January 25, 1989 - January 20, 1993)

Joseph R. Wright, Jr. (November 8, 1988 - January 20, 1989)

James C. Miller III  (October 8, 1985 - October 15, 1988)

David A. Stockman  (January 21, 1981 - August 1, 1985)

James T. McIntyre, Jr.  (September 24, 1977 - January 20, 1981)

Thomas Bertram Lance  (January 21, 1977 - September 23, 1977

James T. Lynn  (February 10, 1975 - January 20, 1977)

Roy L. Ash  (February 2, 1973 - February 3, 1975)

Casper W. Weinberger  (June 12, 1972 - February 1, 1973)

George P. Shultz  (July 1, 1970 - June 11, 1972)

Robert P. Mayo  (January 22, 1969 - June 30, 1970)

Charles J. Zwick  (January 29, 1968 - January 21, 1969)

Charles L. Schultze  (June 1, 1965 - January 28, 1968)

Kermit Gordon  (December 28, 1962 - June 1, 1965)

David E. Bell  (January 22, 1961 - December 20, 1962)

Maurice H. Stans  (March 18, 1958 - January 21, 1961)

Percival F. Brundage  (April 2, 1956 - March 17, 1958)

Rowland R. Hughes  (April 16, 1954 - April 1, 1956)

Joseph M. Dodge  (January 22, 1953 - April 15, 1954)

Frederick J. Lawton  (April 13, 1950 - January 21, 1953)

Frank Pace  (February 1, 1949 - April 12, 1950)

James E. Webb  (July 13, 1946 - January 27, 1949)

Harold D. Smith  (April 15, 1939 - June 19, 1946)

Daniel W. Bell September 1, 1934 - April 14, 1939

Lewis W. Douglas  (March 7, 1933 - August 31, 1934)

J. Clawson Roop August 15, 1929 - March 3, 1933

Herbert M. Lord  (July 1, 1922 - May 31, 1929)

Charles E. Dawes  (June 23, 1921 - June 30, 1922)

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Comments

Anita Alphin 3 months ago
Charlie Rose had Mr. Klein on his show recently with many suggestions on how to improve Obama Care, which had Republican ideas as far back as 2006. I hope Mr. Mick Mulvaney and the President take time to listen to this program to help solve this Obama Care mess. Thanks.
Jennifer Eroh 4 months ago
I live in Oroville California and I just want to know why Butte Community Action hasn't made any funding available to help the public with there utility costs in two years ???
Richard Kaufman 7 months ago
I have a solution in Cybersecurity that can help. I am trying to communicate with "...Tony Scott, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan and Acting Office of Personnel Management Director Beth Cobert...". Can you tell me how I can communicate with one or more of the persons listed in this message. I am a long time supporter of this current administration and our President. As a Veteran and Senior expert in Cybersecurity I am asking you to help me to communicate with the above referenced persons.

Leave a comment

Founded: 1970
Annual Budget: $91,542,000 (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 512 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Office of Management and Budget
Mulvaney, Mick
Director

John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, was narrowly confirmed by a 51-to-49 U.S. Senate vote on February 16, 2017. He will be in charge of a nearly $4 trillion dollar budget. First though, Mulvaney, who failed to pay taxes for his children’s’ nanny, has to get his own fiscal house in order.

 

Mulvaney was born July 21, 1967, in Alexandria, Virginia, to Mike and Kathy Mulvaney and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. His father was a home-builder and his mother a teacher. He graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School, where he was on the golf team and edited the student newspaper, in 1985. While in high school, he worked as a runner for the law firm of James, McElroy & Diehl. Mulvaney then went to Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and earned a B.S. in international economics and finance in 1989. He then went to law school at the University of North Carolina, gaining his J.D. in 1992.

 

Mulvaney’s first job was as a litigator at James, McElroy & Diehl. He left the firm in 1996 to open his own law practice, but then went into his father’s home-building business. In 2000, the home-building part of the business was sold and Mulvaney and his father concentrated on real estate development.

 

Mulvaney moved just south of the state line into South Carolina in 2002, settling in the town of Indian Land. In 2006, he went into politics, winning a seat in the South Carolina House. Two years later, he moved up to the state Senate. He was also an attorney for the founders of the local Salsarita’s Mexican food chain and in 2009 he bought a franchise and currently owns two stores in the Charlotte area.

 

Mulvaney rode the Tea Party wave into Congress in 2010. According to the Conservative Review, he is considered one of the 14 most conservative members of Congress. In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy, he proposed an amendment that would only allow a $50 billion emergency relief bill to become law if it could be paid for by budget cuts elsewhere. The amendment failed. In his three terms, he has urged that the retirement age be raised and has signed on to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher scheme. Those positions would appear to put him at odds with Trump, who has promised not to cut the programs.

 

Mulvaney backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president in 2012 and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in 2016 before jumping on Trump’s bandwagon right before the convention.

 

Mulvaney drew fire at his confirmation hearing from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) for those positions and some from Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) for his votes to cut defense spending and troop deployments. Mulvaney said he couldn’t recall making some of those votes. McCain responded: “I think I would remember if I was withdrawing troops from Europe.”

 

Mulvaney also was criticized at his confirmation hearing for not having paid payroll taxes for the woman who cared for his triplets when they were young. “In our minds, she was a babysitter. She did not live with us. She did not spend the night there. She did not cook. She did not clean. She did not educate the children, she helped my wife with the kids.” Failing to pay taxes for a nanny has sunk more than one Democratic nominee in the past, but Republicans are sticking by Mulvaney to manage the nation’s budget. He will be forced to pay $15,583 in taxes in addition to penalties, however.

 

Mulvaney voted in the past not to raise the debt ceiling, including in 2011 when Republican intransigence caused the government to pay more to borrow money. As the OMB director, he may have to change his view of this issue to keep from starting a panic in the bond market.

 

Mulvaney and his wife, Pam, have three children, who are now teenagers.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Once Skeptical of Trump, Charlotte Catholic Grad’s In Line to Be His Budget Director (by Jim Morrill, Charlotte Observer)

Mulvaney Defends Nanny Tax Lapse, Tangles With Democrats on Budget (by Ben Weyl and Brent Griffiths, Politico)

Dem Senator Humiliates Trump by Forcing His Nominee to Admit Obama’s Inauguration Crowd Looks Bigger (by Brad Reed, Raw Story)

Trump’s Big Cabinet Surprise (by Heather Long, CNN)

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Donovan, Shaun
Previous Director

 

On June 2, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Shaun Donovan, who had served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since the start of the administration, to be its director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He was confirmed by the Senate on July 10 by a vote of 75-22.

 

Donovan was born January 24, 1966, in New York. Manhattan was Donovan’s playground while growing up as a kid who loved math and science, ran track, built model cars and contemplated car design as a career. He has said that his earliest interest in housing came while at Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series. Nearby, in the South Bronx, an uncontrolled fire was burning. ABC announcer Howard Cosell famously told his audience, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning.” According to Donovan, the image of urban decay in that New York borough stayed with him.

 

He attended the Dalton School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and played on the school bridge team.  Other notable Dalton alumni include Anderson Cooper, Christian Slater and Chevy Chase. Donovan received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard. He has a BA in engineering (1987), an MA in architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard (1995), and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government (1995). It was during his studies at the Kennedy School that he fell in love with the housing issue, becoming a public sector junkie.

 

Following graduation, Donovan worked as an architect in New York and Italy. He then researched and wrote about housing policy at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and later worked at The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) in New York City, a non-profit lender and developer of affordable housing.

 

In October 1998, he joined HUD as a special assistant, and by March 2000, was elevated to deputy assistant secretary for Multifamily Housing. In this role, he functioned as the primary federal official responsible for privately-owned multifamily housing, running housing subsidy programs that provided more than $9 billion annually to 1.7 million families and oversaw a portfolio of 30,000 multifamily properties with more than 2 million housing units. During the closing days of the Clinton administration, Donovan served as acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) during the presidential transition.

 

After leaving Washington, Donovan became a visiting scholar at New York University, where he researched and wrote about the preservation of federally-assisted housing. During the same time, he worked as a consultant to the Millennial Housing Commission on strategies for increasing the production of multifamily housing.

 

In July 2002, Donovan became managing director of FHA lending and affordable housing investments at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company. In the affordable housing arena, Prudential’s portfolio totaled more than $1.5 billion in debt, including Fannie Mae, FHA and other loan types.

 

Donovan’s first big career challenge came in March 2004 when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose him to be commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). An agency with a $1 billion budget and 2,700 employees, HPD’s toughest task during Donovan’s tenure was the $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers.

 

While running NYC’s housing program, Donovan was credited with convincing the Bloomberg administration to embrace the idea of inclusionary zoning, under which developers agree to set aside a part of their projects for lower-income people in return for being allowed to build at greater density. The administration’s embrace of that idea helped win public support for the rezoning of several large, formerly industrial areas expected to produce 8,500 new low-cost units over the next 10 years.

 

Upon Obama’s election, Donovan was nominated to be the new HUD secretary. His confirmation went smoothly, but what followed was rocky: The nation was plunging into the depths of recession, led by a steep decline in housing values. Donovan was Obama’s point man on efforts to mitigate the crisis.

 

Donovan took heat in some quarters for wanting to help homeowners, with critics concerned with the “moral hazard” of assisting those in need. However, Donovan, along with the Department of Justice, eventually negotiated a multi-billion-dollar settlement with five major banks that provided principal relief for some underwater homeowners, as well as payments to settle claims of faulty and fraudulent mortgage documentation.

 

Donovan was first considered for the OMB spot in 2010, but Jack Lew, now Secretary of the Treasury, ended up with the job. Also that year, Donovan was the “designated survivor” during the State of the Union address. If a disaster had taken the lives of Obama and others in the Capitol for the speech, Donovan would have assumed power.

 

Donovan, who has lived his life in big cities, worked at HUD to develop policies to combat sprawl. He has tried to coordinate housing policy with transportation planning to create areas where workers can easily get to their jobs.

 

By 2012, the housing crisis began to ease but Donovan had another emergency to deal with: he was made chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. In addition to dispensing money to those hurt in the storm, Donovan tried to encourage rebuilding in a way that would make communities more resilient to a storm’s effects.

 

More recently, Donovan has focused on a crisis in rental housing. The housing meltdown forced millions out of homes they owned and into rental housing, pushing rents higher than some can afford. He has urged Congress to pass housing reform legislation.

 

Donovan’s wife, Liza Gilbert, is a landscape architect. They have two sons, Milo and Lucas.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Obama Names Shaun Donovan To Head HUD (Associated Press)

A National Housing Innovator Leads City’s Effort for the Poor (by Janny Scott, New York Times)

Mr. Donovan Goes to Washington (by Adam Piore, Real Deal)

Housing’s Hardest Act to Follow (by Donna Kimura, Apartment Finance Today)

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Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) functions as the primary budget office for the Executive Branch of the federal government. The OMB oversees the budgetary activities of various federal agencies for the White House and offers advice to senior White House officials on policy, management, legislation, regulatory, procurement, e-gov, and budgetary functions. One of the largest tasks assigned to the office is preparing the President’s annual budget request submitted to Congress, a document that runs into the thousands of pages. Over the last 30 years, the agency has sometimes found itself in the thick of political debates over balancing the federal budget. Its most famous director, David Stockman, became a high-profile figure (unlike most OMB officials) during the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan declared war on big government and attempted (unsuccessfully) to shrink the size of federal agencies.

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History:

In 1921 the Bureau of the Budget was established as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, according to the Accounting Act. The Treasury Department continued overseeing the budget office until 1939, when the Executive Office of the President (EOP) was given authority over the bureau.

 

In 1970, during the Nixon administration, the Bureau of the Budget was reorganized and renamed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the 1990s, it was further reorganized to combine management and budgetary staff responsibilities under the heading of the various Resource Management Offices.

 

Historically, the OMB and its predecessor have quietly gone about its work, leaving public debates over the state of the federal budget in the hands of the White House or Congress. The exception was David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first director of OMB.

 

Stockman entered the White House a true believer in supply-side economics and was gung-ho about radically shrinking the size of government. His ambition to cut federal spending made him a poster child for Reaganomics and a much despised figure among liberals. Despite his zeal, Stockman failed to achieve significant budget cuts in federal spending, which, combined with Reagan’s tax cuts, caused massive budget deficits in the 1980s. A story in the Atlantic Monthly depicted Stockman as a brilliant young conservative idealist who gradually became disillusioned with the conservative movement’s grand theories about how the world worked. Stockman expressed his own disgust with the political process in his memoir, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.

 

For some OMB directors, the position has proven to be a launching pad for bigger assignments in the federal government. Caspar Weinberger and George Shultz both served as head of the budget office for Nixon, with Weinberger going on to serve as Secretary of Defense and Shultz as Secretary of State, both under Reagan. In the Clinton administration, Leon Panetta went from OMB to White House Chief of Staff, as did Joshua Bolten in the administration of President George W. Bush.

 

Peter Orszag, on the other hand, departed the Obama administration after his OMB directorship to become a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing columnist for the New York Times Op-Ed page and Bloomberg View, subsequently joining Citigroup as Vice Chairman of Global Banking. As Obama’s first head of OMB, Orszag was involved with the health care reform plan and responsible for the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

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What it Does:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is a cabinet-level agency operating under the authority of the Executive Office of the President. The agency is responsible for administering the President’s annual budget request, issuing circulars on agency management practices, and reviewing agency regulations. 

 

Six positions within the OMB are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. These include the director, the deputy director, the deputy director for management, and the administrators of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The agency is divided into five Resource Management Offices (RMOs), each led by an OMB associate director. Program examiners within these RMOs are assigned to monitor one or more federal agencies or may be assigned a specific area, along with its management and budgetary issues. Examiners analyze trends and consequences of budget policy, provide strategic and technical support for budget decision making and negotiations, and monitor congressional action on spending legislation.

 

Each year, staff members review federal agency budget requests and help to decide what resource requests will be sent to Congress as part of the President’s budget. Using the Program Assessment Tool, staff members can also review proposed regulations, agency testimony, analyze pending legislation, and oversee all aspects of the President’s Management Agenda. Additionally, they are often called upon to provide information to the agency’s sub-offices, including the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and the Office of Federal Financial Management.

 

The Office of Federal Financial Management provides direction on how to successfully implement financial management policies and systems. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy coordinates efforts to improve federal procurement law, policies and practices, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) oversees federal regulations and information requirements and develops policies to improve statistics and information management. The Office of Performance and Personnel Management (OPPM) guides agency strategic and annual planning, performance reviews and reporting, and federal personnel policy. The Office of E-Government and Information Technology oversees the use of Internet-based technologies to facilitate citizen interaction with the federal government; it is managed by the Chief Information Officer.

 

Other OMB offices include the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Budget Review Division (BRD) (pdf) and the Legislative Reference Division, which distributes proposed legislation and testimony to all relevant federal reviewers and writes an Enrolled Bill Memorandum to the President once a bill is presented on both sides of Congress. The Enrolled Bill Memorandum details the various elements of the bill, including opinions from relevant federal department and an overall opinion about whether the law should be signed or vetoed. The Legislative Reference Division also issues Statements of Administration Policy, which makes the White House’s official opinions known.

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Management and Budget

Bulletins

Circulars

Congressional Reports

Contact Information

Legislative Information

Letters

Memoranda

News Releases

OMB Locator Service

OMBlog

Open Government Plan

Reports

Testimony

U.S. Budget

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Where Does the Money Go:

The FY 2013 Congressional Budget Submission for the Office of the President (pdf) provides the following outline of expected Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expenditures for that year:

 

Personnel Compensation & Benefits                                                  $75,779,000

          Includes salaries, terminal leave, premium pay, reimbursable

          details, assignments under the Intergovernmental Personnel

          Act, and all employee benefits.

Rental Payments to GSA                                                                     $7,235,000

Other Contractual Services                                                                   $6,470,000

          Includes advisory and assistance services, other purchases

          of goods and services from government accounts, operations

          and maintenance of facilities, research and development

          contracts, medical care, operations and maintenance of equipment,

          or subsistence and support of persons, and MAX Budget

          System contractor costs.

Communication, Utilities & Misc. Charges                                             $603,000

          Includes data, voice, and wireless communications, as well

          as utilities, postage, and miscellaneous rental charges.

Equipment                                                                                               $519,000

          Includes IT hardware and software, customized software

          programming, printers and network devices, office furniture,

          photocopiers, fax machines, and telephones.

Supplies and Materials                                                                            $416,000

          Includes general and information technology (IT) supplies,

          newspapers, magazine subscriptions, and government publications.

Travel & Transportation of Persons                                                       $348,000

          Includes official travel, such as per diem, hotel and transportation,

          auto rental, and local transportation.

Printing and Reproduction                                                                       $167,000

Official Entertainment                                                                                 $3,000

Transportation of Things                                                                            $2,000

          Includes commercial express delivery as well as freight

          and other shipping charges.

Total Estimated Budget                                                                       $91,542,000

 

The OMB does not have any information regarding contracts on USASpending.govDocument6. However, the office does work with private contractors. In August 2007, REI Systems announced that it had received a contract from SRA Touchstone, which supports the development of a pilot Web site designed to support OMB’s Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. The site makes acquisition, grant, and loan award data available to the general public, and REI Systems assists with technical support and integration services. In May 2011, REI Systems reported that it had developed for OMB the IT Dashboard, a tool to manage complex federal information technology projects, and that the OMB subsequently released the tool’s source code so that it could be adapted for use by outside companies and agencies.

 

WinMagic, a company supplying disk encryption services, announced in June 2007 that it had been selected to provide protection for sensitive, unclassified data on OMB laptops, other computing devices and removable storage media. The contract extended to the Department of Defense and General Services Administration and could result in contract values exceeding $79 million.

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Controversies:

Capping Private Contractor Executive Compensation

The Obama administration launched an effort in 2011 to cap the amount reimbursed to government contractors for executive compensation.

 

Through the Office of Management and Budget, the administration proposed limiting the compensation at $200,000 a year for company leaders, the same amount paid to cabinet secretaries.

 

To demonstrate why the cap was needed, officials pointed out that following a formula set up under existing federal rules, the statutory limit on reimbursable contractor pay went up to $763,029.

 

Lawmakers in Congress also wanted proposed a plan for capping contractors’ pay. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored legislation that would restrict the taxpayer reimbursement for government contractor salaries. And the Obama administration suggested limiting contractor payments to the highest level paid to senior-most federal officials, such as Cabinet secretaries ($200,000). The bill also would extend the cap to all government contractor employees, not just executives.

OMB Raises Salary Cap For Contractor Executives Because It Has To (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

'Outdated' Contractor Pay Cap Raised 10 Percent (by Matthew Weigelt, Washington Technology)

Obama Jobs and Deficit Proposal Targets Contractor Executive Pay (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

10-12-2011: Lawmakers Urge Super Committee To Address Contractor Salary Cap (by Andrew Lapin, Senedia)

 

Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget got swept up in the Solyndra bankruptcy controversy when government emails revealed OMB officials accused the White House of pressuring them on the company’s loan guarantees.

 

The administration awarded solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra $535 million in loan guarantees in 2009 as part of its green-energy strategy and economic stimulus package. Two years later, the company collapsed, which prompted a federal investigation and plenty of political sniping.

 

A congressional probe turned up emails from the OMB that showed Vice President Joe Biden’s office pressured the OMB to speed up approval of Solyndra’s deal in order for Biden to make a factory groundbreaking event.

 

“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one OMB official wrote to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser. “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”

 

Republicans pounced on Solyndra’s failure, labeling it an example of the wastefulness of the stimulus program. They also said it raised doubts about the administration’s funding of green technology, and may have been an example of crony capitalism.

 

Solyndra was founded in part with funding that originated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches (by Frank James, NPR)

GOP: Solyndra Deal was Rushed (by Jim Puzzanghera and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times)

Solyndra Controversy A Transparent Attempt To Kill Green Energy (by David Dayen, Campaign for America’s Future)

Furor Over Loans to Failed Solar Firm (by Matthew Wald and Charlie Savage, New York Times)

 

U.S. Army Plan to Add More Generals Shot Down by OMB

In June 2008, the Associated Press reported that the OMB had quashed a service plan proposed by the U.S. Army to add five active-duty generals to oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance. This came about after a panel criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined war efforts in Iraq an Afghanistan and wasted millions in tax dollars. The Army already has 300 full-time generals, which the OMB has deemed more than enough to handle any new demands. The Army appealed OMB’s decision and, the following month, the OMB reversed its decision.

White House Rejects Army Plan to Hire Generals to Oversee Contracting (Associated Press)

 

White House Leaves Loophole for Foreign Contractors

In March 2008, the White House indicated that it would not remove a loophole inserted into an OMB budget rule that allows foreign contractors to remain silent if they witness fraud or abuse on U.S. government contracts. The Justice Department opposed the exemption and wrote to the OMB, asking for the exemption to be eliminated. Congressman Peter Welch subsequently authored a bill—the Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act (H.R. 5712)—that was signed into law in 2008, which closed that loophole. In January 2012, the OMB—under the Obama administration—directed federal agencies to increase oversight of contractors as a means of cutting down on fraud, waste, and abuse.

White House won't remove loophole allowing foreign contractors to ignore fraud (by John Byrne, Raw Story)

Congress Passes Legislation Which Will Require Contractors to Self-Report

Violations of Criminal and Civil Laws (Sutherland)

OMB memo on contractor oversight (pdf)

 

Government Outsourcing Raises Controversy     

In December 2002, The Washington Post reported that President George W. Bush’s new E-Government initiative (which is part of the OMB) was raising controversy among librarians and public interest groups who were worried that the new law would make it harder and more costly for the public to find government documents and take advantage of existing federal services.

 

Also at issue was a new plan to encourage competition and bids from printing and electronic archiving companies for jobs. The Bush administration said a law requiring agencies of the executive branch to submit all their printing jobs to the GPO was unconstitutional. Previously, the Government Printing Office (GPO) enjoyed a near-monopoly on these services. It maintained that these changes would cost taxpayers an additional $100-200 million every year. Indeed, when it came time to print the federal budget, the GPO placed a bid that was lower than those of private contractors. The OMB said GPO’s winning bid of $387,000 was 23% below what it charged for printing the budget in the previous year. By accepting the GPO bid, the OMB bypassed a potential showdown with Congress, which ordered the administration to have the GPO print the budget. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in 2002 that federal agencies cannot use appropriated funds to purchase printing services without first going through the GPO in most cases.

E-Gov Law Sets Up Clash Over White House Outsourcing Plan (by Brian Krebs, Washington Post)       

OMB e-Government Scorecard Lacks Essential Citizens’ Perspective, Says Report by ForeSee Results (Business Wire)

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Former Directors:

Peter R. Orszag (January 20, 2009 - July 30, 2010)

Jim Nussle (September 4, 2010 - January 19, 2009)

Robert J. Portman  (May 26, 2006 - August 3, 2007)

Joshua B. Bolten  (June 26, 2003 - April 14, 2006)

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.  (January 23, 2001- June 6, 2003)

Jacob J. Lew  (May 21, 1998 - January 19, 2001)

Franklin D. Raines  (September 13, 1996 - May 21, 1998)

Alice M. Rivlin  (October 17, 1994 - April 26, 1996)

Leon E. Panetta   (January 21, 1993 - October 1994)

Richard G. Darman   (January 25, 1989 - January 20, 1993)

Joseph R. Wright, Jr. (November 8, 1988 - January 20, 1989)

James C. Miller III  (October 8, 1985 - October 15, 1988)

David A. Stockman  (January 21, 1981 - August 1, 1985)

James T. McIntyre, Jr.  (September 24, 1977 - January 20, 1981)

Thomas Bertram Lance  (January 21, 1977 - September 23, 1977

James T. Lynn  (February 10, 1975 - January 20, 1977)

Roy L. Ash  (February 2, 1973 - February 3, 1975)

Casper W. Weinberger  (June 12, 1972 - February 1, 1973)

George P. Shultz  (July 1, 1970 - June 11, 1972)

Robert P. Mayo  (January 22, 1969 - June 30, 1970)

Charles J. Zwick  (January 29, 1968 - January 21, 1969)

Charles L. Schultze  (June 1, 1965 - January 28, 1968)

Kermit Gordon  (December 28, 1962 - June 1, 1965)

David E. Bell  (January 22, 1961 - December 20, 1962)

Maurice H. Stans  (March 18, 1958 - January 21, 1961)

Percival F. Brundage  (April 2, 1956 - March 17, 1958)

Rowland R. Hughes  (April 16, 1954 - April 1, 1956)

Joseph M. Dodge  (January 22, 1953 - April 15, 1954)

Frederick J. Lawton  (April 13, 1950 - January 21, 1953)

Frank Pace  (February 1, 1949 - April 12, 1950)

James E. Webb  (July 13, 1946 - January 27, 1949)

Harold D. Smith  (April 15, 1939 - June 19, 1946)

Daniel W. Bell September 1, 1934 - April 14, 1939

Lewis W. Douglas  (March 7, 1933 - August 31, 1934)

J. Clawson Roop August 15, 1929 - March 3, 1933

Herbert M. Lord  (July 1, 1922 - May 31, 1929)

Charles E. Dawes  (June 23, 1921 - June 30, 1922)

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Comments

Anita Alphin 3 months ago
Charlie Rose had Mr. Klein on his show recently with many suggestions on how to improve Obama Care, which had Republican ideas as far back as 2006. I hope Mr. Mick Mulvaney and the President take time to listen to this program to help solve this Obama Care mess. Thanks.
Jennifer Eroh 4 months ago
I live in Oroville California and I just want to know why Butte Community Action hasn't made any funding available to help the public with there utility costs in two years ???
Richard Kaufman 7 months ago
I have a solution in Cybersecurity that can help. I am trying to communicate with "...Tony Scott, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan and Acting Office of Personnel Management Director Beth Cobert...". Can you tell me how I can communicate with one or more of the persons listed in this message. I am a long time supporter of this current administration and our President. As a Veteran and Senior expert in Cybersecurity I am asking you to help me to communicate with the above referenced persons.

Leave a comment

Founded: 1970
Annual Budget: $91,542,000 (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 512 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Office of Management and Budget
Mulvaney, Mick
Director

John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, was narrowly confirmed by a 51-to-49 U.S. Senate vote on February 16, 2017. He will be in charge of a nearly $4 trillion dollar budget. First though, Mulvaney, who failed to pay taxes for his children’s’ nanny, has to get his own fiscal house in order.

 

Mulvaney was born July 21, 1967, in Alexandria, Virginia, to Mike and Kathy Mulvaney and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. His father was a home-builder and his mother a teacher. He graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School, where he was on the golf team and edited the student newspaper, in 1985. While in high school, he worked as a runner for the law firm of James, McElroy & Diehl. Mulvaney then went to Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and earned a B.S. in international economics and finance in 1989. He then went to law school at the University of North Carolina, gaining his J.D. in 1992.

 

Mulvaney’s first job was as a litigator at James, McElroy & Diehl. He left the firm in 1996 to open his own law practice, but then went into his father’s home-building business. In 2000, the home-building part of the business was sold and Mulvaney and his father concentrated on real estate development.

 

Mulvaney moved just south of the state line into South Carolina in 2002, settling in the town of Indian Land. In 2006, he went into politics, winning a seat in the South Carolina House. Two years later, he moved up to the state Senate. He was also an attorney for the founders of the local Salsarita’s Mexican food chain and in 2009 he bought a franchise and currently owns two stores in the Charlotte area.

 

Mulvaney rode the Tea Party wave into Congress in 2010. According to the Conservative Review, he is considered one of the 14 most conservative members of Congress. In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy, he proposed an amendment that would only allow a $50 billion emergency relief bill to become law if it could be paid for by budget cuts elsewhere. The amendment failed. In his three terms, he has urged that the retirement age be raised and has signed on to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher scheme. Those positions would appear to put him at odds with Trump, who has promised not to cut the programs.

 

Mulvaney backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president in 2012 and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in 2016 before jumping on Trump’s bandwagon right before the convention.

 

Mulvaney drew fire at his confirmation hearing from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) for those positions and some from Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) for his votes to cut defense spending and troop deployments. Mulvaney said he couldn’t recall making some of those votes. McCain responded: “I think I would remember if I was withdrawing troops from Europe.”

 

Mulvaney also was criticized at his confirmation hearing for not having paid payroll taxes for the woman who cared for his triplets when they were young. “In our minds, she was a babysitter. She did not live with us. She did not spend the night there. She did not cook. She did not clean. She did not educate the children, she helped my wife with the kids.” Failing to pay taxes for a nanny has sunk more than one Democratic nominee in the past, but Republicans are sticking by Mulvaney to manage the nation’s budget. He will be forced to pay $15,583 in taxes in addition to penalties, however.

 

Mulvaney voted in the past not to raise the debt ceiling, including in 2011 when Republican intransigence caused the government to pay more to borrow money. As the OMB director, he may have to change his view of this issue to keep from starting a panic in the bond market.

 

Mulvaney and his wife, Pam, have three children, who are now teenagers.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Once Skeptical of Trump, Charlotte Catholic Grad’s In Line to Be His Budget Director (by Jim Morrill, Charlotte Observer)

Mulvaney Defends Nanny Tax Lapse, Tangles With Democrats on Budget (by Ben Weyl and Brent Griffiths, Politico)

Dem Senator Humiliates Trump by Forcing His Nominee to Admit Obama’s Inauguration Crowd Looks Bigger (by Brad Reed, Raw Story)

Trump’s Big Cabinet Surprise (by Heather Long, CNN)

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Donovan, Shaun
Previous Director

 

On June 2, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Shaun Donovan, who had served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since the start of the administration, to be its director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He was confirmed by the Senate on July 10 by a vote of 75-22.

 

Donovan was born January 24, 1966, in New York. Manhattan was Donovan’s playground while growing up as a kid who loved math and science, ran track, built model cars and contemplated car design as a career. He has said that his earliest interest in housing came while at Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series. Nearby, in the South Bronx, an uncontrolled fire was burning. ABC announcer Howard Cosell famously told his audience, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning.” According to Donovan, the image of urban decay in that New York borough stayed with him.

 

He attended the Dalton School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and played on the school bridge team.  Other notable Dalton alumni include Anderson Cooper, Christian Slater and Chevy Chase. Donovan received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard. He has a BA in engineering (1987), an MA in architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard (1995), and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government (1995). It was during his studies at the Kennedy School that he fell in love with the housing issue, becoming a public sector junkie.

 

Following graduation, Donovan worked as an architect in New York and Italy. He then researched and wrote about housing policy at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and later worked at The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) in New York City, a non-profit lender and developer of affordable housing.

 

In October 1998, he joined HUD as a special assistant, and by March 2000, was elevated to deputy assistant secretary for Multifamily Housing. In this role, he functioned as the primary federal official responsible for privately-owned multifamily housing, running housing subsidy programs that provided more than $9 billion annually to 1.7 million families and oversaw a portfolio of 30,000 multifamily properties with more than 2 million housing units. During the closing days of the Clinton administration, Donovan served as acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) during the presidential transition.

 

After leaving Washington, Donovan became a visiting scholar at New York University, where he researched and wrote about the preservation of federally-assisted housing. During the same time, he worked as a consultant to the Millennial Housing Commission on strategies for increasing the production of multifamily housing.

 

In July 2002, Donovan became managing director of FHA lending and affordable housing investments at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company. In the affordable housing arena, Prudential’s portfolio totaled more than $1.5 billion in debt, including Fannie Mae, FHA and other loan types.

 

Donovan’s first big career challenge came in March 2004 when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose him to be commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). An agency with a $1 billion budget and 2,700 employees, HPD’s toughest task during Donovan’s tenure was the $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers.

 

While running NYC’s housing program, Donovan was credited with convincing the Bloomberg administration to embrace the idea of inclusionary zoning, under which developers agree to set aside a part of their projects for lower-income people in return for being allowed to build at greater density. The administration’s embrace of that idea helped win public support for the rezoning of several large, formerly industrial areas expected to produce 8,500 new low-cost units over the next 10 years.

 

Upon Obama’s election, Donovan was nominated to be the new HUD secretary. His confirmation went smoothly, but what followed was rocky: The nation was plunging into the depths of recession, led by a steep decline in housing values. Donovan was Obama’s point man on efforts to mitigate the crisis.

 

Donovan took heat in some quarters for wanting to help homeowners, with critics concerned with the “moral hazard” of assisting those in need. However, Donovan, along with the Department of Justice, eventually negotiated a multi-billion-dollar settlement with five major banks that provided principal relief for some underwater homeowners, as well as payments to settle claims of faulty and fraudulent mortgage documentation.

 

Donovan was first considered for the OMB spot in 2010, but Jack Lew, now Secretary of the Treasury, ended up with the job. Also that year, Donovan was the “designated survivor” during the State of the Union address. If a disaster had taken the lives of Obama and others in the Capitol for the speech, Donovan would have assumed power.

 

Donovan, who has lived his life in big cities, worked at HUD to develop policies to combat sprawl. He has tried to coordinate housing policy with transportation planning to create areas where workers can easily get to their jobs.

 

By 2012, the housing crisis began to ease but Donovan had another emergency to deal with: he was made chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. In addition to dispensing money to those hurt in the storm, Donovan tried to encourage rebuilding in a way that would make communities more resilient to a storm’s effects.

 

More recently, Donovan has focused on a crisis in rental housing. The housing meltdown forced millions out of homes they owned and into rental housing, pushing rents higher than some can afford. He has urged Congress to pass housing reform legislation.

 

Donovan’s wife, Liza Gilbert, is a landscape architect. They have two sons, Milo and Lucas.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Obama Names Shaun Donovan To Head HUD (Associated Press)

A National Housing Innovator Leads City’s Effort for the Poor (by Janny Scott, New York Times)

Mr. Donovan Goes to Washington (by Adam Piore, Real Deal)

Housing’s Hardest Act to Follow (by Donna Kimura, Apartment Finance Today)

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