For now, no separate Jewish liaison for Obama


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration will not immediately hire a staffer to exclusively serve as White House Jewish liaison.

Tina Tchen, director of the White House public liaison office, said Susan Sher, an associate counsel to the president, and Danielle Borrin, a staffer in the vice president’s office, would be assisting her with Jewish liaison duties. She spoke  to United Jewish Communities leaders who were in Washington Wednesday to lobby for the economic stimulus bill.

Tchen told JTA that the decision was made because of budgetary constraints at the public liaison office. She said the plan was to eventually name a single staffer to deal with Jewish outreach. but she could not yet provide a timetable for when that would happen.

Like everyone in today’s economy, she said, "we are all doing more with less," she said.

Before coming to the White House, Sher was vice president for legal and governmental affairs and general counsel of the University of Chicago Medical Center — and Michelle Obama’s boss. In her job at the White House, she provides legal advice to the first lady and works on legal issues associated with health care policy.

Borrin most recently served as deputy press secretary in Joe Biden’s Senate office.

The move is not unprecedented. Several of the Bush administration’s Jewish liaisons had other duties, although the job was not split between two people.

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