Leading up to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag's last day on Friday, Matt Bai looks at mounting tensions between the executive and legislative branches. President Obama, Bai claims, set out to build a "Congressional presidency -- that is, an administration populated largely by Hill veterans ... and built to navigate the culture of Congress," but ended up changing his tune:
Somewhere along the way toward wooing Congress, however, Mr. Obama seems to have decided that the problem, at least where reducing the cost of government is concerned, is Congress itself. There is a sense that the legislative process just isn't set up to work, either because of the severe partisanship in both chambers, or because lawmakers tend to run from painful choices, or because of rules that make it easy for a minority party -- in this case, the Republicans -- to sabotage legislation.
Orszag helped the president skirt Congress by pushing for non-Congressional committees to cut spending, a move that has made many Democrats on the Hill happy to see him go:
House Democrats blame Mr. Orszag for having led this incursion onto their territory, and they seem hopeful for a better reception from his successor, Jacob Lew, who once worked for the legendary House Speaker Tip O'Neill. They may be surprised, however. White House aides say the president has told them that he is serious about getting the long-term budget under control, even if Congress won't act on its own. In other words, the Congressional president does not seem inclined to rely solely on Congress anymore.
Read the full story at the New York Times.