From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
President Obama's going to be announcing his economic advisory board headed by Paul Volcker. The White House release just went out with background and history of what the group has done and will be expected to do.
Per the release it is "modeled on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower...." and "will provide an independent voice on" the economy.
The board will remain in tact for at least two years.
Members of the board to be announced: Austan Goolsbee as staff director and chief economist; William H. Donaldson, SEC Chair, 2003-05; Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO, TIAA-CREF; Robert Wolf, chairman and CEO, UBS; David F. Swensen, CIO, Yale University; Mark T. Gallogly, founder and managing partner, Centerbridge Partners L.P.; Penny Pritzker, chairwoman, Pritzker Realty Group; Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO, GE (parent company of NBC News); John Doerr, partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers; Jim Owens, chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.; Monica C. Lozano, publisher & chief executive officer, La Opinion; Charles E. Phillips, Jr., president, Oracle; Anna Burger, chairwoman, Change to Win; Richard L. Trumka, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO; Laura D'Andrea Tyson, dean, Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley; Martin Feldstein, professor of Economics, Harvard.
*** UPDATE *** NBC's Athena Jones has more from the announcement...
President Obama highlighted the latest jobs numbers and kept up his campaign-style rhetoric, urging quick passage of the stimulus bill at an event to announce the members of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Echoing a statement his team put out this morning after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported some 598,000 jobs were lost in January and unemployment rose to 7.6 percent, Obama said the data demonstrated the urgency of the situation and that it was inexcusable and irresponsible for Congress to get bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual at this time.
"The American people did not choose more of the same," he said. "They did not send us to Washington to get stuck in partisan posturing, to try to score politcal points or to turn back to the same tried and failed approaches that were rejected because we saw the results. They sent us here to make change and the expectation that we would act."
He said that while the bill before Congress was not perfect, it was "absolutely necessary" and would continue to be refined and improved.
The purpose of the advisory board, which Obama announced plans for during the transition, is to offer the president independent advice about how to ensure a strong economic recovery from outside of what the president called the "Washington echo chamber." It will initially have a two-year term.
Harvard Prof. Martin Feldstein, an adviser to Pres. Reagan and a proponent of the so-called "trickle down" approach to the economy that advocated for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, is also on the board. Feldstein wrote an Op-Ed in The Washington Post last week that was pro-stimulus but that criticized the form of the tax cuts in the package and said the spending in it would not do enough to boost employment.
"The problem with the current stimulus plan is not that it is too big but that it delivers too little extra employment and income for such a large fiscal deficit. It is worth taking the time to get it right," he wrote.
Feldstein could be seen as a representative of the "failed theories" of the past that Obama railed against on the campaign trail and in his increasingly tough language this week -- proof that the president wants different voices at the table.
"I'm not interested in groupthink, which is why the board reflects a broad cross-section of experience, expertise, and ideology," the president said, adding that the group included Republicans and Democrats, people from government as well as the private sector and advocates of business and labor. "Not everyone is going to agree with each other, and not all of them are going to agree with me - and that's precisely the point. Because we want to ensure that our policies have the benefit of independent thought and vigorous debate."