Setting the stage for a more diverse White House, US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named Indian-American Neera Tanden and several other diverse advisers in his top economic team. He named former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary nominee and named three women to other top economic posts.
Biden`s transition to the presidency on January 20 appeared to be hitting its stride. The incoming administration has been hampered for weeks by Republican President Donald Trump, who has refused to concede to Biden, a Democrat. Trump has said without providing evidence that the November 3 vote was fraudulent, claims that state and federal election officials have dismissed.
Biden named leading members of an economic team that will have to combat the crushing blows to workers and businesses from the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 266,000 people in the United States in nine months.
Janet Yellen: Janet Yellen is nominated to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its 231-year history, and the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Chair of the Federal Reserve. She has previously been confirmed by the Senate on four separate occasions.
Neera Tanden: Neera Tanden, whose career has focused on pursuing policies designed to support working families, foster broad-based economic growth, and curb rampant inequality, is nominated to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of colour and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.
Wally Adeyemo: Wally Adeyemo, a veteran of the Executive Branch and expert on macro-economic policy and consumer protection with deep national security experience, is nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, having previously served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Deputy National Security Advisor, and the first Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first African American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
Cecilia Rouse: Cecilia Rouse, a leading labour economist and the Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, is nominated to serve as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, having previously been confirmed by the Senate as a member of the CEA in 2009. If confirmed, she will become the first African American and just the fourth woman to lead the CEA in the 74 years of its existence.
Jared Bernstein: Jared Bernstein, who previously served as Chief Economist to President-elect Biden in the first years of the Obama-Biden Administration, will serve as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.
Heather Boushey: Heather Boushey, a distinguished economist focused on economic inequality and the President, CEO, and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will serve as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.
In contrast to Trump, who largely picked white men for key positions, Biden`s early appointments were shaping up to be highly diverse, including an all-women senior communications team unveiled on Sunday night. He named campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director and veteran Democratic spokeswoman Jen Psaki as press secretary.
“This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America,” Biden said in a statement. “They will be ready on day one to get to work for all Americans.”
Biden was expected to formally introduce the new economic team members on Tuesday, the transition team said. Yellen, 74, chaired the U.S. central bank from 2014 to 2018 and had served as the chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. On Twitter after Biden announced her nomination Yellen underscored the challenges facing the United States. “To recover, we must restore the American dream — a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children. As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all.”
Biden also said he would nominate Wally Adeyemo as Yellen`s deputy. Adeyemo had been a deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, then was the president of the Obama Foundation, which is overseeing the planning for the Democratic former president’s library.
And Biden said he would nominate Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden helped the Obama administration create the Affordable Care Act, the sweeping healthcare overhaul popularly known as Obamacare that was one of the former president’s central accomplishments and whose demolition became a central goal for Republicans.
Tanden, chief executive of the progressive Center for American Progress think tank, would be the first woman of colour to lead the OMB if she is confirmed by the Senate.
Biden selected Cecelia Rouse, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. She was a member of the council under Obama from 2009 to 2011.
Heather Boushey, an economist focused on economic inequality and the president, chief executive and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will serve on the council.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were also set to receive their first classified presidential daily briefing on Monday, which the Trump administration had previously refused to provide. The briefing is the first step toward transfer of responsibility for the most sensitive intelligence to a new administration.
Trump, for his part, kept up his unfounded fraud claims in an interview with Fox News on Sunday and with Sunday evening Tweets that the social media service flagged as disputed. Trump, who on Thursday said he would vacate the White House if Biden were formally declared the winner by the Electoral College on Dec. 14, appeared to retreat from his combative legal stance, telling Fox that he did not see a path toward making his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Separately on Monday, election authorities in Georgia said they have opened investigations into third-party groups trying to sign up new voters in advance of a January special election that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.