By Kate Davidson and Kristina Peterson
WASHINGTON -- Congressional leaders are expected to pick Phillip Swagel, a top Treasury Department economist during the George W. Bush administration, as the next director of the Congressional Budget Office, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Swagel, who served as assistant secretary for economic policy from 2006 to 2009, will succeed Keith Hall, who has continued to lead the agency since his term officially expired on Jan. 4. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.) has informed Mr. Hall that he won't be remaining at the helm, one of the people said.
Mr. Swagel's appointment is expected to be announced by next week at the latest, the person said.
As the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, CBO plays a key role analyzing the costs and effects of proposals from Congress.
Mr. Hall was installed in the post by congressional Republicans in 2015. But he found himself at the center of a political storm over health-care policy at the start of the Trump administration, when the GOP-controlled Congress sought to roll back the Affordable Care Act.
CBO estimated House and Senate bills to repeal the health-care law would lead to millions more people without health insurance, rattling centrist Republicans and providing fodder for Democrats who said the repeal legislation would harm Americans. Republicans slammed the agency's scores as inaccurate.
Before joining the Treasury, Mr. Swagel served as chief of staff and senior economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and was an economist at the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve Board. He currently teaches international economic policy at the University of Maryland.
The pick is likely to generate support from mainstream economists on both sides of the aisle.
"Phill Swagel would be a great choice for CBO Director," Jason Furman, who served as the Council of Economic Advisers' chairman during the Obama administration, said on Twitter. "He is an excellent economist and thoughtful person who would uphold and build on the best traditions of this essential institution."
Mr. Swagel's selection as the next CBO head was first reported by Roll Call.
Write to Kate Davidson at email@example.com and Kristina Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 15, 2019 15:57 ET (19:57 GMT)
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