Gene Sperling

Director, National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (2011-2014 and 1997-2001); Contributing Editor, The Atlantic

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Gene B. Sperling served as director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy in The White House. Upon his appointment on January 7, 2011, Sperling became the first person to serve as NEC Director and principal economic policy advisor for two presidents: first under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001, and then under President Obama 2011 to 2014.

As NEC director, Sperling coordinated economic policy and chaired policy meetings with the economic cabinet. Under President Obama, he served as a key negotiator in the debt limit and fiscal negotiations and as his point man in the White House on issues from 21st Century skills, to housing reform, manufacturing, infrastructure, college opportunity, and tax reform. He was also the key architect of legislation on the payroll tax cut, the Small Business Jobs Act, expanded tax relief for lower and modest-income Americans, manufacturing innovation hubs, ConnectEd, College Opportunity Summit, and the American Jobs Act.

Prior to serving in the Obama White House, Sperling served as counselor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as the U.S. and the global community navigated one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. While at the Treasury Department, Sperling served on the Auto Rescue Task Force and was the point person for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

During his eight years at the White House in the Clinton Administration, Sperling played key roles in the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act, the 1997 Bipartisan Balanced Budget Act, the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, New Markets Tax Credit and the China/WTO negotiations.

Sperling has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and a senior fellow at both the Council of Foreign Relations and the Center of American Progress, when he authored, The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity (Simon & Shuster 2005). Sperling work extends beyond economics. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Sperling was the founder and director of the Center for Universal Education, which specializes on education for girls and boys in developing and conflict-impacted nations, and has been housed at both the Council on Foreign Relations and currently the Brookings Institution. He co-authored a book entitled What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence on the World’s Best Investment (2015). He was a consultant for four seasons to NBC’s West Wing where he shared writing credits on four episodes. He has been named one of top 20 Most Powerful People in Washington by GQ, and one of Top 100 Most Powerful People in Finance worldwide by Worth Magazine.

Currently, Sperling heads Sperling Economic Strategies, and writes as a contributing editor for The Atlantic. He is a frequent guest on NPR’s Left, Right & Center, CNBC and Bloomberg TV.

Sperling graduated from the University of Minnesota and Yale Law School, where he was senior editor of the Yale Law Journal, attended Wharton Business School, and was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from American University and Eastern Michigan University. He was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is married to Allison Abner, a television writer, and has two children and two close godchildren.