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Critical GOP Support for Obama's Budget Director

The top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a fiscal hawk, called President Obama’s selection of Jacob Lew Tuesday to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget an “excellent pick” and said, “I certainly will support him.”

Gregg, himself nearly a member of the Obama Administration, said Lew is going to have to be able to deliver tough news to the president. “I think he’s inheriting a situation that’s untenable, unsustainable, and he’s the person who, if he does his job right, is going to have to say ‘The emperor has no clothes’ – the budget’s unsustainable and we’re headed into the ditch,” Gregg said.

“He’s a talented guy. I think he really knows numbers and knows the systems,” Gregg added, saying that though no confirmation hearing is yet set in the Budget Committee, it should be smooth sailing, adding, “I would presume we could move him tomorrow, if we wanted to…The sooner he’s in there the better.”

Republicans had thought that the opening created by the departure of Peter Orszag, who is leaving this month, would provide them with a politically-timely opportunity to shine a light on the climbing deficit and the more than $13 trillion national debt. The selection of Lew by Obama appears to have taken some of the heat out of that fight.