When President Obama was locked in painful spending negotiations with House Republicans last spring, his budget director, Jacob J. Lew, proposed some complex budget changes. Today Lew is the White House chief of staff (and on the shortlist to become the next Treasury secretary) and Obama has entrusted him with an even bigger task: guiding the White House through potentially treacherous negotiations with congressional Republicans to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts on Jan. 1.
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