Stephen Friedman was Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council (NEC). The NEC was established in 1993 within the Office of Policy Development and is part of the Executive Office of the President. It was created for the purpose of advising the President on matters related to U.S. and global economic policy. By Executive Order, the NEC has four principal functions: to coordinate policy-making for domestic and international economic issues, to coordinate economic policy advice for the President, to ensure that policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President's economic goals, and to monitor implementation of the President's economic policy agenda.
The purview of the NEC extends to policy matters affecting the various sectors of the nation's economy as well as the overall strength of the U.S. and global macro-economies. Therefore, the membership of the NEC comprises numerous department and agency heads within the administration, whose policy jurisdictions impact the nation's economy. Director Friedman worked in conjunction with these officials to coordinate and implement the President's economic policy objectives. He was also supported in his capacity as an adviser to President Bush by a staff of policy specialists whose expertise pertains to the council's specific areas of decision-making.
Included on this staff are two Deputy Assistants to the President, whose responsibilities are divided between domestic and international economic issues, the latter additionally reporting to the National Security Adviser. Furthermore, the NEC staff is comprised of several Special Assistants to the President who report to the Director on the following economic policy issues: agriculture, commerce, energy, financial markets, fiscal policy, healthcare, labor, and Social Security. A number of Special Assistants to the President who report directly to the National Security Adviser additionally support and coordinate with the NEC Director.