President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced his senior economic team, including his plans to nominate the first woman to head the Treasury Department as well as a slew of liberal economists and policy specialists who established their credentials during the previous two Democratic administrations.
In a statement, Biden said he would nominate Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, to lead the Treasury Department, and former Clinton and Obama adviser Neera Tanden to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget. He also named Wally Adeyemo, a former Obama administration official and the first CEO of the former president's nonprofit foundation, as his nominee for Deputy Treasury Secretary. He also unveiled his White House economic team, consisting of economists Cecilia Rouse, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey.
Biden, who has placed a premium on diversity in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers, is looking to notch at least a few firsts with his economic team selections. Yellen would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department and Adeyemo the first Black deputy secretary. Tanden would be the first woman of color to lead OMB and Rouse the first woman of color to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.
“As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever," Biden said in a statement.
Here's a look at the individuals selected to high-profile positions on his economic team:
The Biden Administration: A Look at Who Has Been Nominated
President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn in on Jan. 20, has started to choose people to fill top positions in his administration.
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Source: Staff reports
JANET YELLEN, Treasury secretary
Yellen became Federal Reserve chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession. In the late 1990s, she was President Bill Clinton’s top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis. Under Biden she would lead the Treasury Department with the economy in the grip of a surging pandemic.
If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its nearly 232-year history. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, escalating threats to small businesses and signs that consumers are retrenching as the pandemic restricts or discourages spending.
NEERA TANDEN, Office of Management and Budget director
Tanden is the president and CEO of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. She was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, but she first made her mark in the Clinton orbit.
Tanden served as policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Before that, she served as legislative director in Clinton’s Senate office and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. She also served as a senior policy adviser in the Bill Clinton administration.
If confirmed, she would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian woman to lead the OMB, the agency that oversees the federal budget.
But Senate Republicans are signaling they'll oppose confirmation. Late Sunday a spokesman for GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tweeted that Tanden “stands zero chance of being confirmed.” And Josh Holmes, a political adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, tweeted that confirmation was likely doomed. Republicans hold the edge in the current Senate, although next year's majority won't be decided until Jan. 5 runoffs in two races involving GOP incumbents in Georgia.
CECILIA ROUSE, chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers
Rouse is a labor economist and head of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. She served on the CEA from 2009 to 2011, and served on the NEC from 1998 to 1999 in the Clinton administration.
Notably, she organized a letter earlier this year signed by more than 100 economists calling for more government action to mitigate the fallout for Americans caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rouse, who is Black, would be the first woman of color to chair the CEA.
Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the Treasury
Adeyemo currently serves as the president of the Obama Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
He previously served in the Obama administration as deputy director of the National Economic Council and Deputy National Security advisor. He was also the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Nigerian-born lawyer was raised in Southern California and received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his JD from Yale Law School. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first African American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Christopher Rugaber and Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.