joe biden

Biden, who in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers has placed a premium on diversity, is looking at notching at least a few firsts with his economic team selections.

In the coming days, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to appoint several of his most senior economic advisers, a group that includes several liberal economists and policy specialists who during the previous two Democratic administrations, established their credentials.

Biden, who in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers has placed a premium on diversity, is looking at notching at least a few firsts with his economic team selections.

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The Biden campaign has not yet announced the picks, but these are some of the people he expects to pick high-profile positions on his economic team, according to individuals familiar with the transition process who have been granted anonymity to speak freely about the deliberations of the president-elect:

Janet Yellen, Secretary to the Treasury

In 2014, when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession, Yellen became chair of the Federal Reserve. During the Asian financial crisis, she was President Bill Clinton’s top economic adviser in the late 1990s. Under Biden, with the economy in the grip of a surging pandemic, she would lead the Treasury Department.

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If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman in her nearly 232-year history to lead the Treasury Department. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, increasing threats to small businesses, and signs that as the pandemic restricts or discourages spending, consumers are retrenching.

Neera Tanden, director of the Office of Management and Budget

Tanden is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. She was the domestic policy director for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, but in the Clinton orbit, she first made her mark.

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For Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Tanden served as policy director. Prior to that, she served in Clinton’s Senate office as legislative director and Deputy Campaign Manager and Issues Director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. In the Bill Clinton administration, she also served as a senior policy adviser.

She would be the first woman of colour and the first South Asian woman to lead the OMB, the agency overseeing the federal budget if confirmed.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council of the White House

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Deese, a former senior economic adviser in the Obama administration and now BlackRock’s managing director and global head of sustainable investment, would be the Biden White House’s top economic adviser. He worked in the Obama White House on the auto bailout and environmental issues, where he held the title of deputy director of both the NEC and the OMB.

Cecilia Rouse, Chairwoman of the Economic Advisers’ Council

Rouse is a labour economist and the head of the School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University. She was a member of the CEA from 2009 to 2011 and served in the Clinton administration with the NEC from 1998 to 1999.

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Notably, earlier this year, she organised a letter signed by more than 100 economists calling for more government action to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Americans.

The first woman of colour to chair the CEA would be Rouse, who is black.

Heather Boushey, the president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and Jared Bernstein, who served as Biden’s economic adviser during the Obama administration, are also expected to appoint Biden to serve on the council. During the presidential campaign, both Boushey and Bernstein advised Biden.

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