[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 14, 1998]
[Pages 555-556]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Announcing the Office of Management and Budget Transition and an 
Exchange With Reporters
April 14, 1998

    The President. In a few moments I am leaving for Houston to speak to 
the men and women of NASA, visit with America's oldest and newest space 
hero, Senator John Glenn, and participate tonight 
in an ESPN townhall on race. But first, I want to make a personnel 
announcement about a critical position on our economic team.
    For 5\1/2\ years, our administration has brought a new vision of 
stewardship to our economy. We insisted on fiscal discipline, on 
bringing the deficit down from $290 billion on the day I

[[Page 556]]

took office to nearly zero today. At the same time, we were determined 
to invest in our people and their future, to give all Americans the 
chance to reap the rewards of our prosperity. This invest and grow 
economic strategy is clearly the right one for America.
    To put this strategy into place, we have needed an able team. I have 
been proud to have at my side skilled and dedicated men and women, a 
true team of public servants who have helped to steer the economy 
through one of the longest peacetime expansions in our history.
    For the past 2 years, Frank Raines 
has been a key member of that team. He has served the American people 
with true distinction as Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget. He is the first Budget Director to draft and submit a balanced 
budget since Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. He brought a 
businessman's practical sensibility to the task of safeguarding the 
taxpayers' hard-earned dollars. He has 
earned the trust of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress alike. 
He has served as a key negotiator of last year's balanced budget 
agreement. He has shown true leadership in tackling the difficult 
problems of the District of Columbia. Frank Raines has been, in short, a 
brilliant OMB Director, a leader of this administration, a trusted 
adviser, an able spokesperson, and a real friend.
    He has just informed me in the last 
couple of days that he has decided to step down as Director of OMB 
because of a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the private 
sector. I regret his decision, but I certainly understand it. I think 
it's clearly the right thing for him, his wife, Wendy, and their children, and I wish them all the best.
    I'm also delighted to announce my intention to nominate Jack 
Lew to be the next OMB Director. Only a handful 
of people in Washington have Jack Lew's profound knowledge of the 
Federal budget and the legislative process; almost none of them has his 
ability to explain it in plain English. Just as important, very few 
people in Washington also have his record of idealism, commitment, and 
    From his days as policy director for the 
Speaker of the House, when he and Tip O'Neill worked to strengthen 
Social Security in 1983, to his days fighting to create AmeriCorps, a 
national service initiative that has brought the spark of service and 
the opportunity for a college education to the lives of tens of 
thousands of young Americans, to his most recent work as Deputy Director 
of OMB, drafting our balanced budget, Jack Lew has been a true and 
dedicated public servant.
    Like Frank Raines, with whom he has made a very good team, Jack works to balance the budget not just for its own 
sake but for the sake of the people whose interests and values he 
serves. He already serves as a valued member of our economic team. I 
look forward to his speedy confirmation as Director of OMB, and I thank 
him and his wonderful family for being here today and for being willing 
to undertake the sacrifice and rigors of public service for the honor 
and the reward.
    Thank you very much. Now I'd like to ask Mr. Raines and Mr. Lew to make statements.

[At this point, Director Raines and Director-designate Lew made brief 

NationsBank and BankAmerica Merger

    Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the big bank mergers? Mr. 
President, do you have any ideas about them?
    The President. It would be inappropriate to comment now.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget

    Q. Where is Mr. Raines going--this chance of a lifetime?
    Director Raines. Stay tuned. 
    The President. Shortly. That's news, unfortunately, I can't make.

Note: The President spoke at 8:55 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White 
House, prior to his departure for Houston, TX.