As General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) within the Executive Office of the President, I have the privilege of being part of the team charged with implementing a sound fiscal policy for our nation. The OMB team also plays a central role in the Administration’s efforts to make government work better for people by making it more effective, accountable, efficient, and transparent for the public. OMB serves as the implementation arm of Presidential policy and priorities government-wide. It’s tasked with overseeing budget development and execution; overseeing agency performance and management goals; coordinating review of all significant Federal regulations; reviewing and clearing all agency communications with Congress (including testimony and draft bills); and coordinating preparation and review of Presidential Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda to agency heads and officials.
In addition to my role at OMB, President Obama appointed me to serve as Vice-Chair of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent Federal agency designed to leverage the private sector to help make government work better.
I come to my roles in the Obama Administration with a keen appreciation for the value of effective government, coupled with a strong personal commitment to making sure that government supports, and does not burden, the creativity and ingenuity of the private and nongovernmental sectors so that the talents of all Americans may develop and flourish. My background has taught me the vices of both unregulated markets (with their health, environmental, and inequitable impacts), and of overly bureaucratic government structures that stifle innovation. I know that government is at its best when it is effective enough to break down barriers and empower and unleash private energies, without stifling those energies.
My parents came to this country in the mid-1960s from India and settled in Nebraska. They sought opportunities that could only be found in this country: access to remarkable systems of higher education, economic opportunity, and the freedom to imagine their own lives. They left a society which, at the time, was highly regulated and not terribly innovative. They were drawn to the American spirit, and with good reason. Both parents built their careers as dedicated public servants in Nebraska. And my mother found in this country the freedom to be a professional woman, as well as a devoted wife and mother.
As the East rises and our global economy continues to evolve, I maintain a strong belief that the world needs America's leadership and values -- its strong commitment to economic mobility and opportunity for all; democracy; freedom of speech, religion and belief and other constitutional freedoms; and the rule of law. I have worked in the public and private sectors -- in state government (as Solicitor General of the State of New York), in the federal government (as a law clerk to a United States Supreme Court Justice and as an attorney in the Department of Justice), and as a partner at major New York-based law firm -- in support of these American values. I served on and chaired the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in support of these values abroad.
And so I am especially pleased to be part of President Obama's team and to have the privilege of participating in key policy initiatives of this Administration. I and the OMB team worked with the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Department of Commerce to create Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, the first statistical portrait of the status of American women produced by the White House in many decades (in 1963, Eleanor Roosevelt chaired a commission that produced a report on American women for President Kennedy). Along with Josh DuBois, I co-chair the Interagency Working Group on Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Partnerships to help ensure that agencies' policies that have implications for faith-based and other neighborhood organizations are consistent with the fundamental principles set forth by President Obama. I work on policy initiatives on financial regulatory reform, health care implementation, cybersecurity and privacy, and in the area of national security. And I helped prepare the Executive Order (among many others) that established the President's Advisory Commission and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
As we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, let us redouble our efforts to make our government work better -- to help America remain the innovative, free, and prosperous nation that drew our families and predecessors. Together, we can help ensure that America wins the future, and that our nation's values continue to lead the world by example.
Preeta Bansal is General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Management & Budget.