Keith Hennessey

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Person.png Keith Hennessey  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Keith Hennessey.jpg
Alma materStanford University, Harvard University
Assistant to George W. Bush for Economic Policy

Employment.png Director of the National Economic Council Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
November 28, 2007 - January 20, 2009
Preceded byAllan Hubbard
Succeeded byLawrence Summers

Keith Hennessey is an American economist and former political advisor who was the Assistant to the U.S. President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council. He was appointed to the position in November 2007 by President George W. Bush, and served until the end of Bush's second term in office. Hennessey had served in the White House since August 2002, when he was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Deputy Director of the U.S. National Economic Council.


Hennessey holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Political Science from Stanford University and a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.[1] The title of his Harvard public policy thesis was Unintended Consequences: Critical Assumptions in the Clinton Health Plan.


Prior to joining the White House staff, Hennessey worked for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott from February 1997 to August 2002. While in Senator Lott's office, he was involved in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and all budget resolutions since 1997, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and all tax legislation since 1998, Trade Promotion Authority, all health legislation, the Transportation Equity Act, FAA authorization bills and many other smaller bills. Prior to joining Senator Lott, Hennessey worked as a health economist for the Senate Budget Committee, from January 1995 to February 1997. Hennessey was a research assistant for the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform from June 1994 to January 1995. From 1990 to 1992 he tested the database program Q&A for Symantec Corporation in Cupertino, California.

As deputy director and then director of the White House National Economic Council, he coordinated economic policy design and implementation for the president. The last thirteen months of his time in the White House were by far the most intense, helping advise President Bush on his administration’s response to the financial crisis.

His Stanford page lists some of the major Presidential policies that he helped design, enact, and implement[2]:

  • 2003 law that cut taxes on income, capital gains, dividends, marriage, children, small businesses, and estates
  • 2008 economic stimulus, as well as tax cuts in 2004, 2005, and 2006
  • Successfully opposing repeated congressional efforts to raise taxes in 2007 and 2008
  • Reforming the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Two energy laws that support nuclear power and other alternative energy technologies, and will reduce U.S. gasoline consumption 20 percent by 2017
  • Eliminating the ban on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas
  • “Major Economies” process that restructured global climate change negotiations to ensure participation by all large economies
  • Creating health savings accounts and implementing health policies to improve price and quality transparency
  • Bringing private sector competition and market forces to Medicare and adding a prescription drug benefit
  • Providing loans to U.S. auto manufacturers in 2008
  • Coordinating the response to the 2002 West Coast Port Strike
  • Coordinating the response to the 2002 Mad Cow disease outbreak
  • Creating Terrorism Reinsurance after the 9/11 attacks

Since leaving the White House, Hennessey has been a television commentator and established a blog, which was named in an article reported by the Wall Street Journal economics bureau as one of the "Top 25 Economics Blogs" in 2009.[3]

From 2009 to 2012, Hennessey worked as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has since worked as a lecturer at Stanford Law School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Stanford University Public Policy Department.[4]

In January 2021, he supported the efforts for a last-minute impeachment of President Donald Trump.[5]


  1. "About Keith Hennessey", "" blog, retrieved September 9, 2009
  3. Justin Hart, Phil Izzo, Kelly Evans, Sara Murray, Conor Dougherty and Sudeep Reddy, "A Reader's Guide to Econoblogs", July 16, 2009, The Wall Street Journal