US election 2020

Election US 2020: who are the top economic officials named by Biden?

On Monday President-elect Joe Biden named his pick to replace Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary as his White House cabinet takes shape.

Election US 2020: who are the top economic officials named by Biden?
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI WIN MCNAMEE NICHOLAS KAMM SAUL LOEB AFP

President-elect Joe Biden has today announced a number of key members of his economic team as he continues to build his White House. The nominees will play a key role in the Biden administration as he looks to restart an economy that has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The team will be headed by new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who had been the favourite for the role for some time and who will replace Steven Mnuchin as the main economic advisor to the President. Yellen, who was previously the chair of the Federal Reserve, will become the first woman to hold the post if her nomination is confirmed by the Senate. Yellen leads a team that has a number of women in top roles and that reflects Biden’s message of diversity and unity.

Who has Joe Biden named on his economic team?

As was the case with his previous nominations for the foreign office and members of his White House staff, Biden’s picks were revealed in a statement from his transition team. The announcement made on Monday morning confirmed that Yellen had been chosen to serve as Treasury Secretary, the first female appointment in the treasury department’s 231-year history. Other nominees are as follows:

Neera Tanden – Nominated to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Tanden will become the first woman of colour and the first South Asian American to hold the position if confirmed.

Wally Adeyemo – Biden’s pick for Deputy Secretary of the Treasury comes with considerable experience having previously worked as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy National Security Advisor, amongst other positions in the executive branch. She would be the first African American to hold the role if she is confirmed as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Cecilia Rouse – Rouse has been nominated to serve as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, an agency that she first became a member of in 2009, during the Obama administration. She would become the first African American head of the CEA if she is confirmed.

Jared Bernstein – Another to have served during the Obama administration, Bernstein is one of Biden’s nominations to the CEA. During his time working with Vice President Biden, Bernstein served as Chief Economist and brings a wealth of experience.

Heather Boushey – Biden’s other nominee for the CEA is Boushey, who is the President, CEO, and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The WCEG non-profit research and grantmaking organisation that promotes “broad-based” economic growth

Will all of Joe Biden’s nominees be confirmed?

Although Joe Biden will become President on 20 January 2021, he does not have complete control over the names in his cabinet. All nominees will have to been confirmed by the Senate and with a Republican majority as it stands one pick looks unlikely to make it.

Neera Tanden has already been singled out by Republicans as someone who is too far to the left, partly due to her position in influential liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress. Even before her nomination was officially announced Republicans were denouncing her publically.

Drew Brandewie, communications director for Texas Sen. John Cornyn, tweeted: "Neera Tanden, who has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators' whose votes she'll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed.

Assuming that the Republicans retain at least one of the two Senate seats to be contested in the Georgia runoff races in January, they will retain a majority in the Upper House. If that happens, it seems unlikely that Tanden will be approved.

Biden can, as Donald Trump did, use executive powers to fill the roles with ‘acting’ appointments, but doing so would ruin Biden’s attempts to unite the two parties during his administration. He has promised to bring his Senate-learnt skills of diplomacy to the White House, and this may be one battle in which he accepts defeat.