SBA Chief, Other Key Administration Officials Announce Departures

Karen Mills spoke at the Democratic National Convention in September. Karen Mills spoke at the Democratic National Convention in September. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

Several senior Obama administration officials have announced their departures from government service recently, adding to the list of vacancies the president will need to fill for his second term.

Small Business Administration head Karen Mills announced her resignation on Monday. Mills joined the agency in 2009 after a career in venture capital and small business management. Her reforms included speeding up the payment times for small federal contractors and expanding lending during the financial crisis.  Obama elevated the agency in 2012, inviting Mills to Cabinet meetings.

The president said that Mills was the lead voice for promoting the administration’s stance on entrepreneurship, and played a key role in the passage of the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act.

“Over the last four years, Karen has made it easier for small businesses to interact with the federal government by reducing paperwork and cutting through red tape,” he said in a statement released on Monday.

Politico reported on Monday that Heather Higginbottom, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, was leaving the agency to join the State Department as the counselor to Secretary of State John Kerry. Current acting OMB Director Jeff Zients also is expected to leave the agency and is currently the frontrunner for the U.S Trade Representative job, meaning that Obama will need to fill two positions at the top of his budget office.

And on Friday, U.S Customs and Border Protection leader David Aguilar announced his resignation after 30 years of service with the agency. He had served as the agency’s deputy commissioner since 2010, and was the interim commissioner after the retirement of Alan Bersin in December 2011. The Associated Press said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had not announced a replacement to lead the 60,000-person bureau as of Friday.

Click here to see National Journal's list of more Obama adminsitration vacancies.

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