President-elect Joe Biden has announced the most diverse team of economic advisers in US presidential history, with former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen pegged to lead his Treasury Department and three other women — two of colour — given key spots in his incoming administration.
Princeton economist Cecilia Rouse will head his Council of Economic Advisers, and Center for American Progress chief executive Neera Tanden is the president-elect’s pick to direct the Office of Management and Budget.
Ms Yellen’s and Ms Tanden’s nominations must be confirmed by the Senate. If Republicans keep control of the Senate after the 5 January runoffs in Georgia, Ms Tanden’s nomination could be in peril.
The longtime liberal advocate and Hillary Clinton ally has clashed with Republicans on Capitol Hill over the years and even some members of her own party, especially those aligned with Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.
Ms Yellen, who would become the first woman Treasury Secretary in the department’s 231-year history, has been confirmed by the Senate four separate times.
Wally Ademayo, an Obama administration alum who has served in advisory positions on the National Economic Council and in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has been tapped to be Ms Yellen’s top deputy at the Treasury Department. If confirmed, he would be the first black deputy Treasury Secretary.
Longtime Biden adviser Jared Bernstein and progressive economist Heather Boushey will serve on the Council of Economic Advisers headed by Ms Rouse, the Biden transition team announced on Monday.
In a statement on Monday, Mr Biden indicated that 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.”
Their immediate focus will be on “the communities hardest hit by Covid-19,” and they’ll aim to address “the structural inequities in our economy,” the president-elect said.
He also acknowledged the team of economic advisers’ racial and gender diversity.
“This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America,” Mr Biden said.
The incoming president has so far been following through on campaign promises to build the most diverse Cabinet and inner circle of advisers in US history — a priority that took on special significance for Mr Biden, a 78-year-old white man, because he emerged from the most diverse field of Democratic primary candidates in US history.
On Sunday, he announced veteran Democratic spokeswoman Jen Psaki as his White House press secretary, rounding out a seven-person, all-female senior communications team — a first in US history — that will be led by his campaign communications director, Kate Bedingfield.