Joshua Bolten, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, is a graduate of Princeton University and has a law degree from Stanford University Law School.
Prior to moving to the office of OMB, Mr. Bolten was Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff. He was policy director for the Bush - Cheney presidential campaign.
Before the campaign, Bolten worked for Goldman Sachs International in London.
In the previous Bush administration, he was General Counsel to the US Trade Representative and Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. He also worked on the Hill as counsel to the Senate Finance Committee.
Dan Senor is a key adviser to Ambassador Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Mr. Senor was one of the first American officials in Baghdad after the war ended. Previously, he was an aide to Spencer Abraham during Abraham's term in the US Senate.
"Ambassador Bremer [has been] making the case behind closed doors and in public events over the last couple of weeks that if this becomes a loan we will have a Weimar Republic on our hands. We will be loading down the Iraqis with more debt on top of debt reparations they already have and creating a situation that those who want to undermine the reconstruction -- want to undermine the new Iraq -- will be able to capitalize on and blame America and blame the West for saddling their economy with all this debt."
(Bolten) "I don't expect that. I can't imagine a situation in which the right thing to do to meet our needs in Iraq is to undermine the US economy. So I don't expect any shift in position on that."
On challenges in getting Congress to approve funds to rebuild Iraq:
(Bolten) "We know we have a politically challenging situation when political opponents decide to compare some element of the spending in the Iraq [aid] package to something we would like to do here in the United States. Because politically you will find it is always easier to persuade your constituents that a water project or an electric project in the [home] district would be better than a water project or an electrical project in Iraq.
And I would say that would be a valid comparison to make if what we were talking about here was the comfort of the Iraqi people or normal foreign development aid. That is not the case here.... The purpose of the Iraq supplemental is not principally to make the Iraqi people more comfortable and make their lives better, although that is an important by-product. The purpose of the Iraq supplemental, both the security side and the reconstruction side is a national security purpose. That is to make that country secure and stable enough so that the situation there is not threatening to the United States."
(Bolten) "Actually our 2003 [deficit] number is going to come in lower than $455 billion. We are not going to announce an actual number until toward the end of the month, some time when all the calculations are in. But my expectation is that we will go below $400 billion as a result of both slower expenditures than were anticipated in July...and some modest good news in revenue collections, which seem to be firming. It is revenue collections which dropped off a cliff over the past few years and are substantially responsible for the deficit situation. [The firming revenue picture] is a good sign about the economy. It is a good sign about our budget situation."
(Bolten) Over the short term, my own view is that...if the two conditions that I mention prevail - continued pursuit of strong pro-growth economic policies and exercise of fiscal restraint - we are well within sight to meet the president's commitment to cut the deficit in half from its peak next year over the next five-year window.
In fact, our projections show we should be able to do it faster than five years. What the president has said publicly is cut that deficit in half over five years.... Our projections show us well within sight of doing that. As I said, I don't have a great deal of pessimism, in fact I have optimism, that it will be possible to meet the president's objective rapidly within that five-year period again if we continue pro-growth economic policies and exercise fiscal restraint of the nature reflected in the president's '04 budget proposals....
The real problem comes about a decade from now as some of us baby boomers retire and we see enormous challenges to our budget situation, not from the discretionary spending which is what we are talking about now - that is the subject of budget resolutions and appropriations and so on - but the entitlement side of the ledger (principally Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid). Those are huge challenges that I think need to be addressed on their own merits....
I think the budget situation and I think entitlements actually will be on the agenda in the 04 campaign and I think they ought to be ... the environment has not so far been ideal to bring forward actual legislative activity on social security reform but while I know the president has not made any decisions about what the campaign agenda will be in 2004. But I would not be at all surprised were he to decide that was an import issue to take to the people."