WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama named veteran adviser Gene Sperling as director of the National Economic Council on Friday, placing a Washington insider with a bipartisan nature in the White House as the administration contends with a divided Congress.
Sperling’s appointment coincided with the release of the December jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropping to 9.4 percent, its lowest level in nearly two years.
Sperling, who had been a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is returning to a familiar role. He served as NEC director in the Clinton administration, where he played a key role in the 1993 deficit reduction bill and compromised with a Republican-led Congress on the 1997 balanced budget agreement.
Sperling takes over for economist Lawrence Summers, who left the White House last month to return to Harvard University.