Magazine article Black Enterprise

Raines Tapped to Rein in the Federal Debt: Top Economic Advisor Mans the Budget Battle Front Lines

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Raines Tapped to Rein in the Federal Debt: Top Economic Advisor Mans the Budget Battle Front Lines

Article excerpt

While the recent death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was a tremendous tragedy in and of itself, it also left the Clinton administration with a sudden dearth of African American cabinet members. And while White House officials won't say the selection of Franklin D. Raines to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was a direct result of that loss, his nomination does suddenly place another African American in the middle of an ongoing fray. At stake is where and how the $1.57 trillion outlined in the 1996 federal budget will be spent.

Raines' appointment would make him one of three African American cabinet members in the administration. The others are Energy Department Chief Hazel O'Leary and Jesse Brown, secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Fortunately, everything happened so fast, says Raines, he didn't think about his own bank account when he accepted the $148,400-a-year job. His new salary is a sizable cut from the $2.25 million he earned last year as vice chairman of the Fannie Mae Mortgage Co. "My view is that when the President of the United States says he needs your help, you have to have a very good reason to say no," he says. "And money is not one of them."

This is not the first time Clinton has called on Raines, a Rhodes Scholar who served on the White House domestic policy staff and as OMB associate director for general government in the Carter administration. During the transition period between the Bush and Clinton administrations, Raines served as Clinton's economic advisor and was responsible for all the agencies and departments that deal with the nation's economic health, including Treasury, Commerce and Labor.

Under Raines' leadership, Fannie Mae began partnerships with HUD and local lenders in Baltimore and other cities across the country. Raines led an effort to reduce the cost of every mortgage by about $1,000, enabling more families to become homeowners. …

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