WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation Now) — Joe Biden formally introduced his top economic advisers on Tuesday, as the president-elect builds a recovery plan to help American families and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris hosted the six nominees and appointees in Wilmington, Delaware, a day after releasing the names of their choices to fill the key economic policy posts.
Biden’s latest nominations reflect his commitment to increasing diversity at the highest levels of the federal government, with picks including the first female Treasury secretary and the first Black woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisers.
The advisers have all signaled an interest in helping women and minorities who’ve been disproportionately affected by the economic downturn. They’ve also expressed support for government stimulus to maximize employment and reduce economic inequality.
So, who are the members of Biden’s economic policy team?
TREASURY SECRETARY: JANET YELLEN
Biden has nominated former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department. If confirmed, Yellen would be the first woman to chair the agency in its 231-year history.
Yellen became Federal Reserve chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the Great Recession, and she deepened the central bank’s focus on workers and inequality.
In the late 1990s, Yellen served as President Bill Clinton’s top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis.
She has remained active in policy debates at the Brookings Institution think tank since President Donald Trump replaced her as head of the Fed in 2018.
“We face great challenges as a country right now. 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,” Yellen said in a statement on Twitter following the announcement.
“As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all,” she added.
Yellen will need to be confirmed by the Senate to serve in the role.
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET DIRECTOR: NEERA TANDEN
Biden named Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian American to serve as director of the office that oversees the federal budget.
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, and helped former President Barack Obama’s administration in creating the Affordable Care Act.
Biden’s transition team said Tanden “has been a leading architect and advocate of policies designed to support working families, foster broad-based economic growth, and curb inequality throughout her career.”
“After my parents were divorced when I was young, my mother relied on public food and housing programs to get by. Now, I’m being nominated to help ensure those programs are secure, and ensure families like mine can live with dignity,” Tanden said in a statement on Twitter following the announcement. “I am beyond honored.”
Tanden’s role will require Senate confirmation. But some Republicans are expressing doubt that she could be confirmed after she spent years criticizing GOP lawmakers on social media.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden’s “combative and insulting comments” about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path.”
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Republicans’ judgments hypocritical.
“If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.
Biden’s transition team had released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
DEPUTY TREASURY SECRETARY: WALLY ADEYEMO
Biden also selected Wally Adeyemo to be Yellen’s deputy, which would make him the first Black deputy treasury secretary.
Adeyemo currently serves as president of the Obama Foundation. He had formerly worked in the Obama administration as deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy national security advisor. Adeyemo was also the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“Public service is about offering hope through the dark times and making sure that our economy works not just for the wealthy, but for the hard-working people who make it run,” Adeyemo said in a Twitter statement following the announcement. “As Deputy Treasury Secretary, I look forward to helping us build back our economy better.”
Like Tanden and Yellen, Adeyemo’s role will require Senate confirmation as well.
Adeyemo has come under fire from progressives for connections to BlackRock, a giant Wall Street asset management firm.
BlackRock has sought to avoid greater regulatory scrutiny by Treasury, and many activists criticize the firm for owning huge stakes in oil and gas companies.
COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS CHAIR: CECILIA ROUSE
Cecilia Rouse, a labor economist and dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, was nominated to serve as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.
If confirmed, Rouse would be the first Black woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, which advises the president on economic policy, in its 74 years of existence.
She had served on the CEA from 2009 to 2011, and served on the White House National Economic Council from 1998 to 1999 in the Clinton administration.
Earlier this year, Rouse organized a letter calling for more government action to help Americans caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It was signed by more than 100 economists.
“The planning for a fairer economy, grounded in facts and evidence, begins now,” Rouse tweeted Monday.
Rouse’s role will require Senate confirmation.
COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS MEMBER: JARED BERNSTEIN
Biden has nominated Jared Bernstein to the Council of Economic Advisers.
Bernstein was a former adviser to Biden when he served as vice president during the Obama administration. He then went on to become a fellow at the left-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Bernstein has also worked as a social worker and a former economist at the think tank Economic Policy Institute.
COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS MEMBER: HEATHER BOUSHEY
Heather Boushey, president and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, was picked to be one of the three members of the CEA.
Boushey’s think tank conducts its own research and also provides grants to mostly left-leaning academics to study aspects of inequality.
“My life’s work has been centered on ensuring our families and work are properly valued within our economy,” Boushey said in a Twitter statement. “I’m excited to bring that perspective as a CEA member. We have an opportunity to rethink how we invest in people, and we need to seize it as we rebuild our economy.”
For more information on the economic policy appointees, visit the Biden-Harris transition website.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.