Published: Jun 22, 2010 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 22, 2010 9:06 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - White House Budget Director Peter Orszag plans

to resign, a Democratic official said Monday night, positioning him

to be the first high-profile member of President Barack Obama's

team to depart the administration.

Orszag is expected to leave in the coming months. The exact

timing is not known.

As director of the Office of Management and Budget, Orszag holds

Cabinet-level rank and a pivotal role in shaping and defending how

the administration spends the public's money. He quickly emerged

from a bureaucratic post to become a camera-friendly face of

Obama's government, often in front on plans to confront the deficit

and to spur the economy.

The official confirmed the news to The Associated Press on

condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.

Orszag's spokesman, Kenneth Baer, said only: "Peter's focused

on his work, not on Washington speculation."

That speculation has for weeks held that Orszag would leave this

year after a grueling, nonstop sprint as the head of the budget

agency and a key adviser to Obama. During his tenure, Congress has

passed the most expensive economic stimulus program in U.S. history

and a massive health care reform law. Orszag has overseen Obama's

first two budgets, too.

Orszag, 41, came to Obama's government from the position of

director of the Congressional Budget Office, the agency charged

with providing nonpartisan analyses of economic issues to

lawmakers. He served during Bill Clinton's administration as an

assistant to the president for economic policy and a senior adviser

at the National Economic Council.

The move comes as Obama continues to face the steep economic

challenges of reining in the deficit and rallying support for more

stimulative spending. The economic recovery is plodding along but

unemployment remains near 10 percent.