November 7, 2008 / 1:05 PM / 11 years ago

U.S. Rep. Emanuel to become Obama chief of staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a combative Illinois Democrat, has accepted President-elect Barack Obama’s offer to become White House chief of staff in the new administration, according to two sources on Capitol Hill.

“I can confirm that Rahm has accepted the position,” said a Democratic House aide, who asked not to be identified.

Another Democratic aide said a formal announcement would be forthcoming.

The chief of staff position is a top White House appointee who serves as one of the closest advisers to the president and typically can decide who gains access to the president, while also developing administration policies.

Emanuel, like Obama, is a Chicagoan who is close to the next president and to many members of his inner circle.

In his role as chairman of the political committee in charge of helping Democrats gain seats in Congress, Emanuel was seen as a key player in the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in 2006.

Since then, Emanuel has served as the fourth highest-ranking Democrat as chairman of the party’s caucus. He serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which sets tax policy.

Emanuel was a key adviser to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and most recently was a negotiator on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout legislation.

Reporting by Richard Cowan, Editing by Sandra Maler

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