Gene Sperling

Gene Sperling

Eugene Sperling
Director of the National Economic Council
In office
January 20, 2011 – March 5, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Lawrence Summers
Succeeded by Jeffrey Zients
In office
December 12, 1996 – January 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Laura Tyson
Succeeded by Lawrence Lindsey
Personal details
Born (1958-12-24) December 24, 1958
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Allison Abner
Children a 9 year old daughter named Nina and 20-year-old son named Miles and
Alma mater University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Yale University
University of Pennsylvania

Eugene "Gene" B. Sperling (born December 24, 1958) was Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.[1]


  • Life and career 1
    • Early life and education 1.1
    • Career 1.2
      • Clinton Administration 1.2.1
      • Post-Clinton Administration 1.2.2
      • Obama Administration 1.2.3
  • Personal life 2
  • Works 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Life and career

Early life and education

Sperling was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he attended both Pioneer High School and Community High School, from which he received his degree. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota in 1982, where he was Captain of the Men's Varsity Tennis Team, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1985, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.[2] After graduating from Yale Law School, he attended business school at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[3]

Prior to joining the National Economic Council, Sperling served as Deputy Director of Economic Policy for the Presidential Transition and Economic Policy Director of the Clinton-Gore Presidential campaign. From 1990 to 1992, he was an economic advisor to Governor Mario Cuomo of New York. [4]


Clinton Administration

Sperling served as Deputy Director (from 1993-1996) and then Director (from 1996-2001) of the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration. As deputy director from 1993-1996, Sperling helped design and pass several of President Clinton’s early initiatives, including 1993 Deficit Reduction Act,[4] the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit,[5] and the Direct Student Loan Act.[6]

As director from 1996-2001, Sperling was a principal negotiator of the 1997 bipartisan Balanced Budget Act, was the architect of the Save Social Security First debt reduction strategy, and co-negotiated the final China WTO agreement in Beijing in 1999 with United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. He also played a leading role in the design and passage of other Clinton administration economic initiatives, including the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit, the New Markets Tax Credit, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Gear-UP Early College Mentoring program, expanded debt relief to poor nations, and stronger international protections against abusive child labor. [4] [7] Sperling worked with then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to negotiate protections for the Community Reinvestment Act in the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. These protections helped secure passage of the bill. [8]

Post-Clinton Administration

After leaving the National Economic Council, Sperling served as Founder and Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution.[9] He co-authored the book What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence and Policies from the Developing World.[10] He also authored The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.[11] For four years, he was a consultant and part-time writer for the television series The West Wing.[12]

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Sperling earned $887,727 from Goldman Sachs in 2008 for his work helping to create and implement their 10,000 Women initiative. He was also compensated $158,000 for speeches, mostly to financial companies. Sperling received $2.2 million in total compensation in 2008 from a variety of consulting jobs, board seats, speaking fees and fellowships.[13]

Sperling was the chief economic advisor for Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign.[14][15]

Obama Administration

From 2009 to 2011, Sperling served as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He advised on financial crisis and auto rescue matters, and was Geithner's top aide on fiscal, budget, tax, Affordable Care Act, and small business issues.[16]

In January 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Sperling as the Director of the National Economic Council. In that role, Sperling played a key role representing the White House in budget negotiations with Congress as well as serving as the White House point person on several of the President’s top priorities including job creation, manufacturing policy, housing, GSE reform, skills initiatives and patent reform. He played a key role in designing the Small Business Jobs Act, the payroll tax cut, the extension of training assistance and the expansion of tax credits for low income working Americans.[17] He was the creator of the $447 billion American Jobs Act.[18] Sperling also led the design and implementation of the President’s initiatives on Manufacturing Innovation Hubs,[19] SelectUSA,[20] the College Opportunity Summit,[21] and the ConnectED initiative.[22]

Sperling was named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Finance worldwide in 2013 by Worth Magazine.[23] He was named one of the 50 Most Powerful People in Washington by GQ in 2012.[24]

On February 27, 2013, Sperling was identified as the writer of an e-mail informing Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward "that he would regret" publishing a story critical of Obama's sequester.[25]

Sperling left the National Economic Council in March 2014.[26]

Personal life

Sperling is married to television writer Allison Abner, whom he met when he was a consultant on NBC’s The West Wing. They have a nine-year-old daughter together and 20-year-old son from Abner’s previous marriage.[27]


  • Herz, Barbara; Sperling, Gene B. (2004). What Works In Girls' Education: Evidence And Policies From The Developing World. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press.  
  • Sperling, Gene B. (1985). "Judicial Right Declaration and Entrenched Discrimination".  
  • ——— (2001). "Toward Universal Education: Making a Promise, and Keeping It".  
  • ——— (2005). The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity. New York: Simon & Schuster.  


  1. ^ Montgomery, Lori; Dennis, Brady (January 7, 2011). "Obama names Sperling to head National Economic Council".  
  2. ^ The Yale Law Journal, Volume 94 Masthead, [5], January 1985.
  3. ^ White House Profile: Gene Sperling, [6]
  4. ^ a b c National Economic Council, Profile of Gene Sperling
  5. ^ Huffington Post, Gene Sperling, Obama Economic Aide, Leaves White House
  6. ^ World Bank, Profile of Gene Sperling
  7. ^ Remarks by Mr. Juan Somavia, Advancing the Global campaign against child labour, May 17, 2000.
  8. ^ Wall Street Journal, Glass-Steagall Accord Reached After Last-Minute Deal Making, October 25, 1999.
  9. ^ Council on Foreign Relations, [7]
  10. ^ Council on Foreign Relations, What Works in Girls' Education
  11. ^ Simon & Schuster, The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity
  12. ^ Politico, Sperling on 'West Wing': 'Pretty realistic,' but don't walk as fast, March 13, 2013.
  13. ^ Schmidt, Robert (October 14, 2009). "Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds".  
  14. ^ A look at the Clinton economic plan , Kai Ryssdal interviews Gene Sperling, Marketplace, January 31, 2008
  15. ^ The Advisers Are Writing Our Future David Leonhardt, The New York Times, April 18, 2007.
  16. ^  
  17. ^ National Economic Council,[8].
  18. ^ Washington Post, Gene B. Sperling: Obama's Job Creator, Zachary A. Goldfarb, February 4, 2012.
  19. ^ Reuters, Obama manufacturing hubs face uphill struggle to create jobs, March 18, 2014.
  20. ^ The Wall Street Journal, U.S. to Redouble Efforts to Attract Foreign Direct Investment, October 21, 2013.
  21. ^ The Chronicle of Higher Education, White House Highlights How Groups Have Pledged to Improve Access, January 26, 2014.
  22. ^ National Economic Council,ConnectED: Delivering the Future of Learning September 10, 2013.
  23. ^ Worth,The Power 100: The 100 Most Powerful People in Finance.
  24. ^ GQ,The 50 Most Powerful People in Washington.
  25. ^; for a different take on the supposed "threat" see 1600 penned
  26. ^ Politico,Gene Sperling: Last day is March 5, February 19, 2014.
  27. ^ The Daily Beast: "Democrats' Negotiator in Chief" by Lloyd Grove May 19, 2011

External links

  • Official website at the White House
  • Commonwealth Club of California, archived speech at the Wayback Machine (archived May 27, 2006)
  • "The Pro-Growth Progressive" - Gene Sperling speaks at Google
  • Obama appointee Sperling was key H-1B broker, Computerworld, January 11, 2011
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
Political offices
Preceded by
Laura Tyson
Director of the National Economic Council
Succeeded by
Lawrence Lindsey
Preceded by
Lawrence Summers
Director of the National Economic Council
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Zients