* Volcker, other panel members to discuss energy issues
* Wall Street keenly interested in Volcker's role
* Obama's "green jobs" proposals to top meeting agenda
By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON, May 20 A high-level panel of
experts that has been helping to shape U.S. President Barack
Obama's response to the economic crisis will step into the
public view on Wednesday at a meeting to discuss energy issues
and job creation.
Obama announced the creation of the 16-member Economic
Recovery Advisory Board, led by former Federal Reserve Chairman
Paul Volcker, in February, but its work had been entirely
Wednesday's meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m./1400 GMT, will
be open to the media and carried via a live video stream on the
White House website. It is the first of what are expected to be
quarterly meetings by the board.
Topping the meeting agenda is Obama's proposal to create
"green jobs" in sectors of the economy aimed at developing
cleaner energy sources.
Volcker's role in advising Obama is of keen interest to
many on Wall Street, where the 81-year-old former central
banker remains a towering figure known for breaking the back of
runaway inflation during the 1980s.
Volcker has continued to weigh in on public policy matters
since leaving the Fed in 1987. He was a key adviser to Obama
during the campaign and speaks frequently with White House
officials on financial-regulatory and other issues.
But he has vented some frustration to associates about his
level of access within the White House economic power center.
Obama's inner circle on economic policy consists of
National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers, a former
Treasury secretary; current Treasury Secretary Timothy
Geithner; Christina Romer, chairwoman of the Council of
Economic Advisers; and Austan Goolsbee, a longtime Obama
adviser who sits on the Council of Economic Advisers and is
also chief of staff on the Volcker economic recovery panel.
'TEAM OF RIVALS'
Some refer to the group as "team of rivals" because it
consists of high-powered people who bring varying perspectives
and personal styles.
In an interview with the New York Times magazine published
this month, Obama said his economic team is marked by "an
appreciation of complexity."
He described Volcker as "somebody who has enormous
influence over my thinking" and someone who can provide
"counterbalance" in discussions.
The economic recovery panel, which includes Democrats and
Republicans and people from business, academia, public policy
and labor union backgrounds, is intended to give Obama some
outside perspective on economic issues.
"The purpose of the board is not to work inside the White
House, but to bring a diverse set of perspectives and voices
from different parts of the country and different sectors of
the economy to bear in the formulation and evaluation of
economic policy," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
She said the members of the panel have been conducting
their own analysis to prepare for the discussion of energy
On Tuesday, Obama ordered the struggling auto industry to
make more fuel-efficient cars under tough new standards to cut
emissions and increase gas mileage.
The president is also seeking action on Capitol Hill on a
climate-change bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide and other
pollutants. The bill would establish a "cap-and-trade" system
that would gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases
industrial companies could emit.